Skip to main content
Ask A Librarian

Chemistry 493B | From Innovation to Industry

What is a Patent?

A patent is a legal document giving the patent owner certain exclusive rights to his/her invention for a limited time.  U. S. patents are issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

Patents are an excellent source of information on new technology, trends in technological development, and specific products or innovations.

Patents at WVU

As a U.S. Patent and Trademark Resource Center, the Evansdale Library receives current copies of U.S. Patents and provides access to USPTO patent and trademark databases. All the tools necessary to perform a preliminary patent or trademark search are available in the library.

The PubWEST (Web-based Search Tool)  and PubEAST (Examiners Search Tool) as provided in the Public Search Facility (PSF) in Alexandria, Virginia are available by appointment with the Patent Librarian.

Other formats include:

  • Utility Patents: Paper holdings:     
    • Specifications and drawings of patents issued from the United States Patent Office with gaps in holdings, 1871-?     
    • Microfilm Cassettes 1972-1999
  • Design Patents: Microfilm Cassettes 1992-1999.
  • Plant Patents in color from 1931 to present:
    Microfiche holdings 1931 to 1997.
    Paper holdings Nov. 1994 to present.

If you have questions about the U.S. Patent and Trademark Depository Library, contact: Marian Armour-Gemmen at: or (304) 293-9758

Citing Patents in ACS Style

Minimally, ACS requires the name of the patent owner(s), the patent number, and date.  Here is a template:

Patent Owner 1; Patent Owner 2; etc. Title of Patent. Patent Number, Date.

Here are some examples:

Bernson, S.W. Conversion of Methane. U.S. Patent 4,199,533, April 22, 1980.

Gordon, A.Z.; Rossof, A.H. Methods for Treating Leukopenia with Tertiary Amines or Quaternary Ammonium Salts. U.S. Patent 5,466,509, 1987

Stern, M. K.; Cheng, B. K. M. (Monsanto Co., USA). Process for preparing N-(p-nitroaryl)amides via reaction of nitrobenzene with nitriles. US Patent 5,380,946, 1995; SciFinder Scholar AN 1995:354698 (accessed 2/2/08).