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A guide to patents and resources for finding patents.


The patent process and patent searching are complex activities. The Cal Poly Pomona Library does not have either the search tools or the staff expertise required for thorough patent searching.

Anyone in the Cal Poly Pomona community who is considering pursuing a patent should contact the University's Technology Transfer Office. The office's website provides information about the patenting process.


Patent and Trademark Resource Centers

Patent and Trademark Resource Centers are libraries designated by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to receive and house copies of U.S. patents and patent and trademark materials, to make them freely available to the public, and to actively disseminate patent and trademark information. UC Riverside, Los Angeles Public Library, and San Diego Public Library are the PTRCs closest to campus.

What Are Patents?

A patent is an official document, issued by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO), granting property rights to the inventor or to the assignee. A patent grants the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, selling, or importing the invention. U.S. patents protect inventors in the U.S. only. Patent applications must be filed in every country in which the inventor wants to protect his invention.

Why Patents Are Important

Patents are a rich source of technical, scientific, and business information. And they are valuable commercial products. Many patents go directly to obscurity but some turn out to be very lucrative for the inventor or assignee. Consider the profits from high profile blockbuster drugs for example.

Examples of information that can be gleaned from patents:

• Detailed explanations and descriptions of products, processes, chemicals, technologies, etc.

• Who is developing products in a field?

• What are the newly developing technologies to monitor?

• What are competitors doing?

• What enterprises can be identified only by their patent activities?

• What companies or universities are involved in the type of research that interests you?