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Library Resources for Patents

Need help?  Contact Librarian Ted Baldwin: or 513-556-4211


WHAT IS A PATENT? A patent is a grant by the U.S. government to an inventor (person) of the right to exclude others from making, using, or selling his/her patented invention in the United States for a period of 20 years from the date of application (beginning June 1995) (assuming maintenance fees are paid). It can not be renewed. This right can be sold or licensed to third parties in return for fees and royalties. An invention must be new, useful and unobvious to qualify as patentable.

Major types of patents include: DESIGN, UTILITY, PLANT and REISSUE Patents.

DESIGN Patents cover the ornamental appearance of an article of commerce only. Items covered by a design patent might also qualify for copyright protection in some cases.

UTILITY Patents cover an article or process and are divided into mechanical, chemical or electrical groups. This is the primary type of U.S. Patent.

PLANT Patents cover distinct and new varieties of botanical plants invented or discovered and asexually produced.

REISSUE Patents are granted if there is a substantial error or errors in the original patent.


  • 80% of patent information is never disclosed or published elsewhere.
  • Patents contain a wealth of specific technical detail, research data, and drawings.
  • 51% (2013) of US patents granted to foreign nationals.
  • Patents and patent applications often published earlier than academic papers.
  • The USA over 8 million granted patents representing 170 years of technology.

If you are an inventor, you should be aware of relevant prior art in your technology. If you are an entrepreneur, you should monitor your competitors' new products, and where they are patented. If you are involved in applied research, you need to review new and pending patents in your discipline. More.

Patents are the first place to look. Over 80% of the information contained in recent patent literature is not published elsewhere.



Classification Definitions [Available on Web] Defines the type of product covered by each class and subclass.

Concordance: United States Patent Classification to International Patent Classification Allows conversion from international to U.S. classification numbers and vice versa.

Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) Scheme  The Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) effort is a joint partnership between the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and the European Patent Office (EPO) where the Offices have agreed to harmonize their existing classification systems (European Classification (ECLA) and United States Patent Classification (USPC) respectively) and migrate towards a common classification scheme.

Access Classification Information by Symbol  Access information on Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC), USPC, and IPC8

Directory of Patent Depository Libraries [Available on Web]

Fees [Available on Web]

Index of Patents Issued from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (1873- ) [The CEAS Library has 1998. The Public Library has all years.]

Index to the U.S. Patent Classification[Available on Web] An alphabetical index to the Manual of Classification.

Manual of Classification [Available on Web] A numerical listing of all classes and subclasses.

Manual of Patent Examining Procedures [Available on Web]

Official Gazette Notices [Available on Web] [Corrections issued in the Official Gazette for previously issued patents]

Official Gazette of the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Patents (1876- )  A listing of patents issued each week. It gives a brief description (usually the primary claim) and a drawing for each invention.

Electronic Official Gazette for Patents (eOG:P) (most recent 52 weeks) [Available on Web] The Electronic Official Gazette allows you to browse through the issued patents for the week. The eOG:P can be browsed by classification or type of patent, for example, utility, design, and plant. Specific patents can be accessed by class/subclass or patentee name. A link is provided to the full text of the patent in the USPTO Full Text Database from each bibliographic record. Clicking the "Full Text" button in the upper left corner of the patent record will take you to the full text.

U.S. Patent Full Text Databases (1790- ) (Applications from 3/15/2001) [Available on Web] Search and display the full text content of U.S. patents issued from January 1, 1976 to the most recent weekly issue date. Search patent numbers and current classifications for all patents from 1790 to the present. Display patent images for patents from 1790 to the present. Beginning March 15, 2001, U.S. patent applications are searchable and displayable. Note: USPTO databases are now using the PDF format to view patent images.


Patent Searching Tutorial [Available on Web] Prepared by the Richard W. McKinney Engineering Library, the University of Texas at Austin.

Patents and Patentability [Available on the Web] Courtesy of the University of Minnesota Libraries.

Patent Searching [Available on the Web]  Courtesy of the University of Minnesota Libraries.


Derwent Innovations Index [Available to OhioLink institutions on the Web]


Espacenet : Europe's Network of Patent Databases although listed under the section for non-U.S. patents, this database includes U.S. patents in the .pdf format. It is an excellent source for historical U.S. patents back to 1920.

Freepatentsonline (1976 December- ) [Available on Web] Free access to U.S. patents with images displayable in either AlternaTIFF or PDF formats. Registration is required. [Available on Web] With US patent number, download pdf format of US patents.

Patent Fetcher [Available on Web] With patent number, download all USPTO and worldwide patents in the pdf format.

SciFinder (Chemical Abstracts) (1907- ) [Available through U.C. on the Web]


British Patent Office [Available on the Web] Now found under "Espacenet : Europe's Network of Patent Databases" -- see entry below

Canadian Patent Database (1920- ) [Available on Web]

Derwent World Patent Index (1963- )

Espacenet : Europe's Network of Patent Databases (dates vary by country) The full collection of patent information for eighty countries from the European Patent Office. Most information included is bibliographic.  For some major countries the full text of the patent is available while other countries include the full image, too. Countries having fulltext patents in the database include: European Patent Organization, France, Germany, Japan, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States of America, and WIPO. Over 90 million patents from 1836 to the present are included in the database.  A convenient patent translator is also available. [Available on Web]

Europen Intellectual Property Association The European Intellectual Property Association (EIPAWEB) represents over 100 non-governmental and other not-for-profit organisations interested in protection the intellectual property of all Europeans.

European Patent Office [Available on Web]

Indian Patent Information Retrieval System (IPAIRS) [Available on Web]

International Patent Classification System [Available on Web]

Japanese Patent Office Industrial Property Digital Library [Available on Web]

State Intellectual Property Office of the P.R.C. [Available on Web]

Other Intellectual Property Office Web Sites [Available on Web]

The Lens [Available on Web] Searches the full text of patents for US, World (WO), European (EP), and Australian (AU) patents.

Patentscope international Patent Cooperation (IPC) Treaty applications. WIPO.

Patent Translate   [Available on Web] EPO and Google offer this free patent translation service.



University of Cincinnati Libraries Document Delivery Service (ILLiad)

U.S. PATENT DEPOSITORY LIBRARIES [Available on Web] (For copies of U.S. patents. The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Public Documents and Patents Department [(513) 369-6971] is a U.S. Patent Depository Library. They have copies of U.S. patents from 1790. The Public Library also has European Applications and Patents (EPO) from 1988. For more patent information at the Cincinnati Public Library, click here.


General Information Concerning Patents [Current edition on Web]

Historical First Patents: The First United States Patent for Many Everyday Things  (T223.P2 B76 1994)

Information Sources in Patents (2011) [Available through UC on the Web]
Intellectual Property: A Reference Handbook (Langsam KF2979.S39 2007)
Patent Fundamentals for Scientists and Engineers, 3rd ed. 2012
Patent Law   [Available on Web]
Rembrandts in the Attic : Unlocking the Hidden Value of Patents (T211.R58 2000)
Title 35 -- U.S. Code -- Patents [Available on Web]
Title 37 -- Code of Federal Regulations Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights [Available on Web]
Useful Patent Internet Sites [Available on Web]
World Patent Information [Available to OhioLINK institutions on Web]

The U.C. Law Library has additional information dealing with patents. Check the UC Library Catalog for titles and call numbers.


University of Cincinnati faculty, staff, and students can get more information on the actual U.C. policies and the process of obtaining a patent on a U.C. sponsored invention the U.C. Intellectual Property Office.

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