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Finding Patents: Get started

Patents are very tricky to search for. Use this guide to learn the what, why, and where about patents, and get started with your search.

Using the patent searching guide

Patents are very different types of information than books or journal articles: the reasons you would use a patent are usually very specific, and the ways to find patents can be tricky. By working through this guide, you will get a better understanding of patents overall, and learn some strategies for finding patents effectively.


This guide was created to help you search for patents, however library staff cannot interpret search strategies, ideas, or processes for you in regard to patents. For legal advice, contact a patent lawyer or agent.  We neither recommend nor endorse any particular lawyer or agent.

Important documents

Two key documents are often helpful for patent searchers, and I will refer to them later in my guide. For quick reference, they are also listed here.

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