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ENGR 101 Design: Patents, Standards and Manufacturer information


"A patent is a type of intellectual property that gives its owner the legal right to exclude others from making, using, or selling an invention for a limited period of time in exchange for publishing an enabling disclosure of the invention." Wikipedia

In US, it is the US Patents and Trademarks Office (USPTO) that grants patents  Patents are not just for the serious inventor or entrepreneur but a good place to look for design ideas.  You can search search USPTO directly but Google Patents provides a more user-friendly interface Google Patents 

You will find great technical information, statement of problems and how the inventor(s) solved them - all free! And also citations to the literature on the topic.

Almost everything we take for granted, was invented by someone!

Check out the Patent Searching and Entrepreneurship page for more information. 

Why are Standards important?

"Standards play a very important part in the engineering world." They supplement the design process by guiding the designer or user to ensure consistent products with safe and reliable operation. Understanding and complying with pertinent standards helps to ensure a successful design, fabrication, and operation of a product.” (from Primer on Engineering Standards by Maan H. Jawad and Owen R. Greulich, ASME Press, 2014).

There are literally thousands of standards and they are usually expensive.  It is impossible for the library to try to purchase all or any of them.  We have ASTMs and IEEE (see this guide for more info).  However, if you run across a standard you really need, contact the engineering librarian.

When you are a working engineer, your company will already have or will acquire standards since they are essential for engineering.

Manufacturers information

ThomasNet  is a free comprehensive business directory for finding companies and products manufactured in North America. Has information on 173,000+ companies, 152,000 brand names, and provides links to 8000+ online company catalogs. Also includes CAD/CAM drawings.

Standards databases @ CSULB