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.
WHY SEARCH PATENTS?
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.
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 from the U.C. Intellectual Property Office.