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Engineering Entrepreneurship: Patents

Guide for Engineering Entrepreneurship classes


Derwent Innovations Index (DII).
DII allows you to search against enhanced titles and abstracts, as well as the Derwent Manual and Derwent and International Patent Classification (IPC) codes for patents from 1963 to the present from 40 major patent-issuing authorities. You can use the assignee field to search for a competitor's patents.

Sample Search: (RFID or radio frequency identification) AND drug test* in Topic.
Sample Title: Disposable container maintenance/tracking/identification method in drug testing industry, involves separating radio frequency identification device from vial for reuse, after scanning RFID.

Sample Search: Assignee Search: IBM or International Business Machines in Assignee field.
Sample Search: Inventor Search: Gorte RJ in Inventor field.
Alternative Inventor Search: Gorte R* in Inventor field - broadens search to include any or no middle initial.

TotalPatent One


Searching the current patent literature will give you an idea of similar technologies in existence and the companies that produce them. If there are several patents in existence for related technologies, then maybe your idea is not new. Check the claims information in existing patents to make sure your idea is not infringing on those patents.

Patents also give you a large amount of technical information, with detailed descriptions and diagrams. Operational information, along with names of founders and competitors, can often be gleaned from patents.

If you are doing a patent search as preparation to filing a patent application, it is critical to consult a patent attorney and not just rely on searching the following resources.

Other Patent Sources

  1. Espacenet
    This worldwide database enables you to search for information in more than 120 million patent documents from over 80 different countries and regions.
  2. The Lens (formerly Patent Lens) Free patent and scholarly literature search engine with landscape analysis tools.
  3. USPTO PatentsView
    Prototype visualization and analysis tool for U.S. patent data
  4. USPTO Kind Codes
    The letter or letter-number code that appears after the Patent number indicates whether the patent is at the application, examination, or granted (issued) stage.
  5. Derwent World Patents Index: Kind Code Summary
    Status of the patent (application, examined, granted, etc.)
  6. United States Patent and Trademark Office
    Search for patents from the USPTO from 1790 onward. Please note that there are 2 separate databases here, one for Issued (granted) patents and one for Applications (from Mar 15, 2001 forward).
    Sample Search: (RFID or "radio frequency identification") and drug test$ in All Fields.