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Engineering 180/280 - Entrepreneurship for Scientists and Engineers - Winter 2021: Find Patents


Basic Science & Engineering Sources

About Patents


     A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the inventor, issued by the US Patent and Trademark Office (  There are basically four kinds of patents, all to be distinguised from other forms of copyright, intellectual property and trademark law:

  1. Utility (what most patents are)
  2. Design (ornamental appearance of an article of commerce only
  3. Plant (botanical life)
  4. Reissue (to revise substantial errors in original patent or re-engineer.

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.


Los Angeles Public Library  |  San Diego Public Library  |  UC Riverside Rivera Library


  • 80% of patent information is never disclosed or published elsewhere
  • Patents contain a wealth of specific technical detail, specifications, reseach data and drawings
  • 95% of Canadian patents and 40% of US patents granted to foreign nationals
  • Patents and patent applications often published earlier than academic papers

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.

Patent Resources

UCI Libraries Research Guide for Patents, Trademarks, & Copyrights