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Finding patents: Home

A guide to useful sources for finding patents.

What is a patent?

US Patent 4,838,234 Fig. 1

A patent gives a person a unique and legal right to make, use or sell their invention within a jurisdiction (or jurisdictions) for a fixed period of time. The patent is granted in return for full disclosure of the details of the invention. 

Patents are useful sources for:

  • current awareness of technological advances
  • checking that your proposed invention is unique
  • identifying trends in technology
  • full and practical descriptions of technologies
  • references to other publication.

Finding patents

Getting hold of patents

The Library does not hold any patents.

If you need a patent that is not available online contact the British Library Patents section.

Need more help?

Our liaison librariansIf you need help with finding information, then please contact your subject liaison librarian for advice.