Western Libraries

Finding Patents

What is a Patent:

patent  refers to an exclusive right granted to anyone who invents any new, useful, and non-obvious process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof, and claims that right in a formal patent application. 

Searching for Patents

Patent tutorials by Micheal White , Science Librarian,  Queen's University Library. Excellent introduction on how to search for patents by subject , read patent numbers.

Finding Patents at Western

International patent database containing 60+ million patents from more than 70 national and regional patent offices. Online tutorials for esp@cenet searching are available   here.

Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) Patent Database      

Canadian patent records, 1869 to present; full-text documents, 1920 to present.  Guide to Patents.

U.S. Patent Office

U.S. patents, 1790 to present and published applications, 2001 to present. Patents prior to 1976 can be retrieved by number, date and classification. TIFF viewer required to view/print patent documents.  General overview  of the U.S. patent system.


This database contains U.S. patents from 1971 forward, searchable by keyword, patent number, classification number, lawyer, assignee, inventor or summary.

Other Patent Sources:


 Downloading Patents:

Google Patents     :   U.S. patents in PDF format, 1790 to present.

More Information on Patents:

Filing Patents Online: A Professional Guide

Patent Fundamentals for Scientists and Engineers