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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 further assistance?

Academic Liaison TeamIf you need help with finding information, then please contact your Academic Liaison Librarian for advice.

Citing a patent

Elements to include:
  1. Inventor(s)
  2. Year of publication (in round brackets)
  3. Title (in italics)
  4. Authorising organisation e.g. UK Intellectual Property Office, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
  5. Patent number
  6. If online - Available at: URL (Accessed: date)

Online patent

Reference list: Cox, A. and Lee, J. (2021) Water remediation system. UK Intellectual Property Office Patent no. GB2591282A. Available at: (Accessed: 2 September 2021).

In-text citation: (Cox and Lee, 2021)

Printed patent

Reference list: Kruger, L.H. (1989) Degradation of granular starch. US Patent no.: US4838944.

In-text citation: (Kruger, 1989)