Searching for patents can be tricky. Simple keyword searches often do not work in patent databases--you need to carefully think through your search strategy, trying different combinations of keywords and synonyms for your topic. The following websites are recommended sources for U.S., Canadian, and International patents. Be sure to consult each website's help menu or guides to be sure you are searching the interface correctly.
General Reference Sources
General Reference Works
A short introduction to patents and patentability created by the UMN Science and Engineering Library.
Includes answers to frequently asked questions regarding patents, trademarks, servicemarks, and copyright.
An e-book through NetLibrary that gives an introductory overview of all aspects of patenting.
A website that allows you to access free pdf versions of patents. Including patents from the U.S., Europe, Japan and WIPO.
Access over 75 years of patent descriptions and images. You can search, retrieve and study more than 1,400,000 patent documents.
Find International Patents. Provides an interface to the published patent application databases of the European Patent Office and European national patent offices.