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Introduction to Patents and Patent Searching

This guide is designed to introduce you to patent searching. Basic patent information as well as useful resources are included to help get you started.

Patent and Trademark Offices

Searching Tips

To be most effective in your search for patents you must determine how your invention works, NOT how you will use your invention.

  • Start by making a list of words that describe your idea (including synonyms)
  • Record class/subclass of any related terms
  • Ask yourself:
    • What does the invention do?
    • What is the end result/anything unique/special/ unexpected? 
    • What is it made of/method or material of fabrication? 
    • What is it used for? (think verbs, as well as nouns)
  • Keep track of useful and non-useful patents (by patent number) to avoid duplication of efforts

Free Online Resources

Patent Classification

Patent Classification is a system of codes designed to organize and index the technical content of patents.

Citing patents