WHAT IS A PATENT?
A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the inventor, issued by the US Patent and Trademark Office (http://www.uspto.gov). There are basically four kinds of patents, all to be distinguised from other forms of copyright, intellectual property and trademark law:
Patents are subject to the federal government in which they are registered, thus jurisdiction is very important and some patents are registered in multiple countries.
PATENT DEPOSITORY LIBRARIES
WHY SEARCH PATENTS?
If you are an inventor, you should be aware of relevant prior art in your technology. If you are an entrepreneur, you should monitor your competitors' new products and where they are patented. If you are involved in applied research, you need to review new and pending patents in your discipline and track the inventors and orgins of such work.