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ME 386W- Engineering Design: The Methods

A guide for the Mechanical Engineering junior level writing course

How to Search for Patents

Patent Searching Steps

Patents CANNOT be searched by keyword alone. The U.S. and other countries have classification systems that categorize issued and pending patents into technology groups identified by a number, and these must be used in order to do a thorough search. Start with a keyword search in Google Patents to identify relevant patents, examine their classifications, and then search key classifications. Google Patents may be used on its own to identify just one or two relevant patents.

Steps to Starting a Preliminary U.S. Patent Search

1. Do a keyword search in Google Patents,
2. Locate several patent(s) that are relevant to your research
3. Review the abstract, images, and claims

4. In the blue box:
     Download the PDF
     See Patent citations – other patents cited by this patent
     See Cited by – patents that have cited this patent
     Click on the USPTO link to view the patent at USPTO

5. Classifications
     Note the CPC classifications/technology areas
     Review the definitions

6.Search the CPC and U.S. classes at USPTO for more complete results. 
Source: Oklahoma State University Library Patents Guide:

Patents Databases

This video from the Purdue Northwest Library will walk you through the basics of searching for patents in Google Patents.