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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

Free sources of patents
Google Patent Search
Library databases giving references to patents

Getting hold of the full-text 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?

A group photo of the Academic Liaison Librarians teamIf you need help with finding information, then please contact your Academic Liaison Librarian for advice.