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:
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.
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