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Subject Librarian: Meghan Lafferty

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 introductory tutorial to patents and patentability created by the UMN Science and Engineering Library.

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A tutorial on searching for patents using Google Patents and the United States Patent and Trademark Office database.

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Includes answers to frequently asked questions regarding patents, trademarks, servicemarks, and copyright.

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An e-book through NetLibrary that gives an introductory overview of all aspects of patenting.

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Internet Resources

Search Engines

A website that allows you to access free pdf versions of patents. Including patents from the U.S., Europe, Japan and WIPO.

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Find U.S Patents and Patent Applications using keywords, back to the first patent issued. You cannot search really recent patents (those issued within the last couple of months). All patents available as pdfs.

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Web Sites

Access over 75 years of patent descriptions and images. You can search, retrieve and study more than 1,400,000 patent documents.

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Find International Patents. Provides an interface to the published patent application databases of the European Patent Office and European national patent offices.

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Use this site to search for U.S. issued patents and published patent applications.

Direct link to Patent Search page.
Direct link to Patent Classification Homepage.

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Library Information

Science and Engineering Library

Walter Library
East Bank, Minneapolis Campus
Circulation: (612) 624-3366; Reference: (612) 624-0224