Finding Patents

By Jul.04, 2017

Looking for patents? Anne shows you where you can find them.

Patents are useful as they can show the latest technological development in a particular field, and often describe significant developments long before they are revealed elsewhere. If you are working in a field of engineering, for example, and need to think of a design solution to a particular problem you might like to look at some patents for inspiration.

Scopus

You might be familiar with Scopus for finding journal articles, but did you know it provides access to over 28 million patents from five patent offices as well?

  • European Patent Office
  • Japan Patent Office
  • UK Intellectual Property Office
  • US Patent & Trademark Office
  • World Intellectual Property Organization

To access Scopus go to the Library’s Resources page, click the letter ‘S‘, select ‘SCOPUS’, then click ‘Link to Database’.

Scopus search screen

re-order by relevance

Because the patents on Scopus are drawn from different offices, the pages you click through to will look different – but look for links called “Image” or “Original Document”, etc.

You might find some great designs:

USPTO 595629

And you will almost certainly find some strange ones:

JPS 6031276

I think this cat has every right to look alarmed, don’t you?

 

Do you know how to reference a patent?

A reference for a patent is in this format:

Inventor, A. B. (Year). Title of patent. Patent Office No. Patent number.

For example:

Ichihara, A., & Maruta, F. (1984). Cat Washing Bag. Japan Patent Office No. JPS59139052U

Now here’s the tricky part!

Your in-text citation uses the Patent Office number and year, but not the inventor.
So this one would be:
(Japan Patent No. JPS59139052U, 1984) or
Japan Patent No. JPS59139052U (1984).

If you wish though, you can include the inventors’ names in your text, for example:

Ichihara and Maruta’s innovative design (Japan Patent No. JPS59139052U, 1984) helped restrain cats for the purpose of washing …

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