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Patent Searching

A guide to patent searching for engineering students


Do you have an idea for an invention? There are several possible reasons you may want to do a patent search:

  • Patentability - has my invention or similar inventions been patented? (checking "prior art" for "novelty")
  • Freedom to operate - if already existing, has the patent on this invention expired, meaning others are free to manufacture it? 
  • Mining - are there companies who might be willing to manufacture or market my invention?
  • State of the art - what are the most recent patent applications granted in the area of my invention? (to determine existing solutions and potential competitors)

Whatever your reasons, this guide will help you get started.

Go to the Patent classification page to learn how patent classification systems work.

Go to the U.S. Patents page to learn more about finding U.S. patents.

Go to the Worldwide patents page to learn how to find patents outside the U.S.

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