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Patent Searching

A how-to guide on how to find patents using the USPTO and other agencies

Starting Points

What is a Patent?

    A legal document that gives the patent holder exclusive rights to the patented material for a set period of time (20 years in the US).

What types of Patents are there?

   Utility Patentissued when a new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter has been invented or improved upon.

   Function Patent:  issued when a new or orginal ornamental design has been created.

   Plant Patent:  issued when a new and recognizable asexually reproduced plant is created or discovered (other than those found in the natural world). This includes cultivated spors, mutants, hybrids, and newly found seedlings, other than a tuber propagated plant or a plant found in an uncultivated state.

 Where can I find Patents?

   Many patents in full text are available online by searching Google Patents and the US Patent and Trademark Office. In Alaska, the Geophysical Institute at the University of Alaska Fairbanks is the home to Alaska's Patent and Trademark Resource Center.  See links in the box below.

Finding Patents

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Jodee Kuden
Head of Collection Development
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