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MSE: Senior Design Project Course Guide: Patents


Companies tend to file for patents instead of publishing in journals because a patent grants the holder exclusive use of the technology described for a set period of time (usually 20 years).  60-80% of material in the patent literature is published nowhere else.  It is important for a company to understand the scope of protected technology to know in which areas they can freely operate.

These patent resources are available at Penn.

Patent Information from the Derwent Innovations Index (DII)

The Derwent Innovations Index (DII), as a part of the Web of Science Database, searches more than 14 million patent records from 40 worldwide patent-issuing authorities. These include the US Patent and Trademark Office, European Patent Office, PCT (WO) applications and the Japanese Patent Office. Searches retrieve records from 1963 to the present, but coverage varies from one patent authority to another. Many of the records do link to full-text, PDF images of the patent that can be saved or printed in their entirety.

Screenshot image of the Basic Search button on the Derwent Innovations Index website. There is a visible drop-down menu with multiple databases listed.

Derwent, like Chemical Abstracts, rewrites the abstracts of patents to make it more apparent whether or not a particular patent would be applicable to your work. In addition, the Derwent record cites patents and other literature used by both the inventor and the patent investigator in the preparation and approval of the patent.

Esp@cenet,, gives full-text, pdf images of European, World/PCT, US, and Japanese patents. In addition, they cover some of the patent authorities of individual, European countries. The date ranges available for each authority vary; see their help file for database coverage.


esp@cenet Help Files (

PCT Country Codes (PDF) (

International Patent Classification Manual (

European Patent Classification (ECLA) Search(

International Patent Classification Code (IPC) - Version 8

IPC Version 8 Catchword Index - An alphabetical list of subject matter headings that provide the corresponding IPC subclass and subgroup.

esp@cenet Assistant - tutorial (requires Flash)

PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) Gazette Archives (

Weekly issues of the PCT Gazette (from April 4, 1998 up to 2006, and including all Special Issues) as produced in paper format are published in PDF. The PCT Database ( contains the first page data (bibliographic data, abstract and drawing) of published PCT applications.

The PatentScope Search Service replaced the PCT Gazette and allows you to search over 1 million published PCT international patent applications.

United States Patent and Trademark Office(USPTO)

The United States Patent and Trademark Office, The USPTO has the full page images of every patent they issued. These are presented in TIFF format, and you must print them a single page at a time.

Search  U.S. Patent Search ( 

Search the public Patent Application Information Retrieval (PAIR) system for information on the status of issued or published appliactions. You can search by patent, application, or publication number.

U.S. Patent Manual of Classification ( A hierarchical list of classes and subclasses by number.

Overview of the Classification System (PDF) (

Patent Classification FAQs (

U.S. Patent Classification Index ( 
An alphabetical list of terms cross referenced to the specific classes and subclasses used to categorize patents.

Note: Browsing is more effective than searching 
Index to the U.S. Patent Classification (Print)
Van Pelt Library Reference Stacks
T223 .F411

Patent Images Plug-in Information - Contains a link to download the TIFF Viewer ( required to view images

Official Gazette of the United States Patent and Trademark Office - Patents
A numerical listing of the patents granted that week. Only contains one drawing and one representative claim. Published weekly.

  • Past 52 weeks available online (
  • 1995 - present Official Gazette Search (
  • 1993-1997 Van Pelt Library Microfiche U.S.Doc C 21.5
  • 1975-1986 LIBRA T222 .A23
  • 1872-1970 (Official Gazette of the United States Patent Office) LIBRA T222 .A


USPTO Glossary (

Inventor Resources (


Screenshot image of the Lens website homepage.

The grey wheel is the advanced search button

Advanced Search 

It is possible to search by name, dates, country jurisdiction, 

Screenshot of the Structured Search page on Lens

After the initial search it is possible to refine by date, investors, or documents, It may be useful to find the investors for a certain patent

Screenshot image of the search results for "Music" on Lens. The page includes a Results Analysis portion on the left-hand side as well as options to refine search results.
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