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How to search for patents

A patent is an exclusive right, granted by a national government, for an invention or an industrial design. This intellectual property can be in any field of technology and can be a product or a process for producing something. 

Undertaking preliminary patent searching is an important first step for inventors hoping to patent their new invention or discovering what has been invented in a particular area. Patents are issued in many countries and usually are granted for up to 20 years from the day the patent application was filed by the inventor. 

Patent FAQs

Canadian Intellectual Property Office

World Intellectual Property Office.

United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

  • A video tutorial, detailing a patent-searching process that can be adapted for using other free patent databases, is available here.

Patent sources/search tools

Citing a patent