A patent is a legal document giving the patent owner certain exclusive rights to their invention for a limited time. Patents are a useful source of information on new technology, trends in technological development, processes, and specific products or innovations. Conducting a thorough patent search will inform you as to whether your invention already exists, if your patent will infringe on the rights of other patents, or if it will invalidate a competing patent. Patents may also not be reported in research journals, thus not show up during a search that only includes existing literature. Don't miss relevant data found in patents only that is not included in journal articles. Patents expire after 20 years.
If you don't find what you are looking for, please contact your Librarian or use our Chat with a Librarian service.
By Terms or Keywords
By Patent Number
*View this tutorial from the US Patent and Trademark Office on the patent search process.
The European Patent Office (EPO) maintains a free database of worldwide patents (including U.S. patents) called Espacenet. Images of patents are provided in PDF format, but can only be printed one page at a time.
By Keyword or Classification
By Patent Number
*Espacenet Tutorial - How to search espacenet, the European Patent Office's online patent database
Chemical Abstracts Service (CAS) indexes chemical patents from approximately 25 countries and patent organizations. UCSD affiliates may search the online CAS database, Scifinder Scholar (link below). You have to register with SciFinder (create an account) before you can access this resource.
Once you have obtained access to SciFinder Scholar, go to Explore References. To search by patent number, assignee name or inventor name, select Patent and enter the information you have. To search by subject, select Research Topic and limit to document type Patent.