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A patent is a right granted by the U.S. government allowing inventors to “exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling” an invention or “importing” it into the U.S. There are three types of patents: utility, design, and plant. 


  • Utility patent are for inventing a new or improved and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter.
  • Design patents are for inventing a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture.
  • Plant patents are for inventing or discovering and asexually reproducing any distinct and new variety of plant.


Below you will find several places to search for patents. If you have questions or need help please reach out to a librarian.