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Patent Resources & Intellectual Property Guide

Resources for patents and intellectual properties

Types of Patents

There are 3 main types of patents:

  1. Utility: for the new and useful process, machine, manufacture, the composition of matter or any new and useful improvement thereof.
  2. Design: appearance of an item is protected. Patent must be an original design for a manufactured item.
  3. Plant: for invented or discovered and asexually reproduced distinct and new variety of plant, including cultivated sports, mutants, hybrids, newly found seedlings, and living organisms.

Searching for Patents - Getting Started

Quick Start Patent Search

You can start your patent search here using the box below. You can put in one or more keywords, or paste whole blocks of text that describe your project.

Google Patents

Like the Quick Start Patent Search above, Google Patents aggregates material from many different patent databases. Most patents also include lists of related patents, to help expand your search.

Basics of Patent Searching - PowerPoint Slides

How About these Apples? Basics of Patent Searching

Subscription Databases and Electronic Resources at WPI

Free Patent Databases

Some patent sites require a tiff image viewer, such as the free AlternaTIFF plug-in. Another option is to convert patents to PDF using

WPI Research - Patents & Patent Applications

WPI's Intellectual Property & Innovation Office has an Intellectual Property Inventory Catalog, which lists the patent applications and granted patents from WPI researchers.