A patent gives a legal right to the patent holder to prevent other people from making, using or selling their invention for a limited period.
In order to be granted a patent, the patent holder must demonstrate that their invention is novel and capable of being made into a product or used as a process by industry. They must publicly disclose full details of their invention.
This means that patents can be an important source of information for researchers, much of which is not available in journals or conference papers.
Why Use Patents As An Information Source?
Patents can be used:
To study the historic development of technologies.
To identify work which has already been done in the field you are researching.
To identify experts in particular areas.
Note: Inventors must file patent applications according to the laws in each of the countries they want protection. Therefore, not all patents are identical for the same invention or in English.
SciFinder Scholar is a research discovery tool that allows you to explore the CAS databases containing literature from many scientific disciplines including biomedical sciences, chemistry, engineering, materials science, and agricultural science. Users must create an account before accessing SciFinder Scholar. Go here to create a new account. Off campus users must first connect to Cal Poly via VPN.
Reaxys provides chemical properties and preparations for inorganic and organic compounds. It is searchable in multiple ways, including chemical structure, formula, physical property, and reaction. This is a combination of retired databases Beilstein (organic reactions, spectra, properties, etc.), Gmelin (inorganic) and Chemistry Patent Database. This database includes a chemical drawing program.
Covers the entire collection of issued patents and millions of patent application made available by the USPTO, from patents issued in the 1790s through those most recently issued in the past few months.