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Mechanical Engineering

Subject Guide to Mechanical Engineering

Patent Information


Patents are defined as "A licence to manufacture, sell, or deal in an article or commodity, to the exclusion of other persons; in modern times, a grant from a government to a person or persons conferring for a certain definite time the exclusive privilege of making, using, or selling some new invention." (Oxford English Dictionary 2nd edition)

Patent literature is a rich source of technical and research data much of which is never published or disclosed elsewhere. In addition, patents and patent applications are often published earlier than academic papers.

There are generally 4 types of patents:

UTILITY Patents: Utility Patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or compositions of matters, or any new useful improvement thereof. This is the primary type of U.S. Patent.
DESIGN Patents: Design patents may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture.
PLANT Patents: Plant patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plants.
REISSUE Patents: Reissue Patents are granted if there is a substantial error or errors in the original patent.

Patent Searching Sites

Several databases are available for searching for patent information.

Not all patents full text can be accessed freely. Some Patent material cannot be easily printed.

Patent Organisations