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?
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.
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.
Inspec® is a comprehensive index to global literature in electronics, computer science, physics, electrical, control, production and mechanical engineering. Includes INSPEC Thesaurus, Classification Codes and other specialized search aids.
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.
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.
Web of Science (Core Collection) provides a single search across Arts & Humanities Citation Index, Science Citation Index, and Social Sciences Citation Index. Additional Web of Science databases are easily accessible.
Patent Strategy introduces researchers to patent applications and patent portfolios. With minimum use of 'legal jargon' it provides the technical professional with the assistance and advice they require to understand the legal complexities that they may encounter before and during a patent application.