What is a patent?
A patent is a legal document giving the patent owner certain exclusive rights to his/her invention for a limited time.
Patents are an excellent source of information on new technology, trends in technological development, and specific products or innovations.
Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) indexes chemical patents from approximately 25 countries and patent organizations. CSULB affiliates may search the online CAS database, Scifinder Scholar.
Once you have obtained access to SciFinder Scholar, go to Explore References. To search by patent number, assignee name or inventor name, select Patent and enter the informatio you have. To search by subject, select Research Topic and limit to document type Patent.
The European Patent Office maintains a free database of worldwide patents (including U.S. patents) called esp@cenet. Images of patents are provided in PDF format, but can only be printed one page at a time.
By Patent Number
- Go to esp@cenet and select Number Search.
- Select the Worldwide Patent Database
- Enter the patent number in the search box in the format given.
- Go to Espacenet and select Quick Search.
- Enter your keywords in the Search Terms box.
- Find a patent that's close to what you're looking for.
- Note the International Classification number/Subclass for that patent, e.g. H04B1/59.
- Do a search of that Class/Subclass in the esp@cenet database to find more patents on that subject.
esp@cenet Tutorial - How to search esp@cenet, the European Patent Office's online patent database
PatentLens A free public resource for patent system navigation worldwide.
The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) Patent Database includes full text of patents from 1790 - present and also provides TIFF images of most of them.
By Patent Number
- Go to USPTO Database.
- Select Patent Number Search or Publication Number Search.
- Go to USPTO Database and select Quick Search. Enter keywords in the search box.
- Find a patent that is close to what you're looking for.
- Note the U.S. Classification number/Subclass for that patent, e.g. 711/111 .
- Do a search of that Class/Subclass in USPTO Database to find more patents on that subject.
- Go to Index to the U.S. Patent Classification System and search for common terms or keywords.
- Use the Class/Subclass numbers you found to check the Manual of U.S. Patent Classification to see if they are on target.
- Search by Class/Subclass numbers in USPTO Database.
You can use the same method of searching in other patent databases on the web. See the Patent Websites tab in this guide for more databases.
Google Patents in collaboration with the USPTO is providing a more familiar interface to search US patents full-text.. Use the "Advanced Search" to search for patent number, inventor name, assignee, patent type etc. However, the USPTO database offers more options for searching (e.g. inventor city, assignee city). For most research purposes, Google patents is sufficient and easier to use.
The following tutorials, produced by the University of Minnesota Libraries, and Queen's University Library, provide more help in finding relevant patents and learning how to read them.
Here are some more useful patent tutorials:
How Stuff Works also provides a good description of the patent process.
SLA Chemistry Division Webinair "Introduction to Patents" (4/30/2012) Excellent Webinar by Michael White