Patents and Trademarks : Overview
What Is a Patent?
A patent is a grant of property right by the government to an inventor preventing others from making, using, or selling a new and useful invention for a period of 20 years from application date.
The following video explains patents and the patent process.
How are patents different from trademarks and copyrights?
The following video explains the differences between the major types of intellectual property protection.
Why search patents?
Searching patents during the design process can help you:
- Determine if your idea is novel
- Identify areas you may need to design around to avoid infringement
- Find inventors (technical experts) with whom to collaborate
- Find inventions that are free to use because of expired or unissued patents
- Monitor emerging designs in a technology area that may not be published elsewhere
- Identify key companies in a technology area who may be interested in your design.
The most comprehensive source for U.S. patent and trademark information is the website of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office:
Intellectual Property Micro-Courses
UW Libraries has developed two open access micro-courses that provide in-depth information on intellectual property:
- The Introduction to Intellectual Property micro-course covers patents, trademarks, copyright, trade secrets, and UW policies surrounding intellectual property.
- The Introduction to Patents micro-course is a detailed look at patents, including U.S. and international patent processes, the anatomy of a patent, and patent searching strategies.