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Resources for starting your research in engineering

Search Strategy for Patents

  1. Brainstorm keywords related to the purpose, use and composition of the invention. What is unique or special about the invention; use both common and technical terms.
  2. Use Patent Lens to search your keywords.
    (Patent Lens, 1976 forward for U.S. granted & 2001 forward for U.S. applications)

  3. Gather CPC Classifications from relevant patents by reviewing the abstracts and classification definitions and by examining the summary of the invention, claims and drawings from the full-text of patents; examine patents under "Cited" and “Cited by” for relevancy. Also, examine citations under "Cited Works" for relevancy.
  4. Use the relevant CPC Classifications you gathered to search Patents in the USPTO Patent Database by classification number (indexing of class numbers goes back to 1790). Review the abstracts, claims and drawings for relevancy. Check all references and note the CPC Classifications and “Field of Search” areas for additional class/subclasses to search.

see also:

Seven Step Strategy (USPTO)

How to Conduct a Preliminary U.S. Patent Search (USPTO, Video)

Prior Art Searching

Prior art searching includes more than searching patent databases; prior art searching requires checking the journal literature, dissertations, conference papers, eprints/preprints, the Web and advertising sources for any previous description of the invention.

see also:

Prior Art Electronic Resources Available to Patent Examiners (USPTO)


Search Tools

Useful Articles and Books

Campus Resource