Skip to main content
Ask A Librarian

Patents: Introduction

Patents, patent searching, inventor resources

Useful Links

U.S. Patent & Trademark Office

USPTO Search Page

USPTO Classification Page

European Patent Office Search Page



Terms of Patents

  • The terms of utility and plant patents are 20 years from application date.
  • The term of design patents is 14 years from date of issue.

Upcoming Events

Fall Roadshows

America Invents Act

September 10-28, 2012

USPTO Fall Roadshow Map



Of the 4 main types of Intellectual Property Protection, Copyright, Trademark, Trade Secret, and Patent, Patent is introduced here.

A Patent is a property right granted by the Government of the United States of America to an inventor "to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throught the United states or importing the invention intor the United States" for a limited time in exchange for public disclosure of the invention when the patent is granted.

3 Types of Patents

3 Types of Patents

  • Utility--an new, useful, and nonobvious process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof. 


  • Design--a new, orginial, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture. 


  • Plant--an asexually reproduced distinct and new variety of plant.


Criteria for Obtaining a Patent

4 Criteria are

  1. Novelty (New)
  2. Useful (Utility)
  3. Unobviousness
  4. Statutory Class (process or method, machine, article of manufacture, composition of matter, or a new or useful improvement thereof.)

Citing Patents

Citations for patents vary depending on the format:

MLA Citation:

Jobs, Steve, et al. "Highly portable media device." Patent 7,889,497. 15 February 2011.

APA Citation:

Jobs, S., et al. (2011).  U.S. Patent No. 7,880,497. Washington, DC: U.S.

ACS Citation:

Jobs, S., et al. Highly portable media device.  U.S. Patent 7,889,497, 2011.

CSE Citation:

Jobs, S, et al, inventor; 2011 Feb. 15. Highly portable media device. United States patent US 7,889,497.

See also:

Patent & Trademark Librarian

Marian Armour-Gemmen
Evansdale Library
Website / Blog Page

Ask Marian