On this page
This guide is designed for novice inventors looking for general information on patents and patent information.
Serious investors should contact the SFU Industry Engagement for professional advice and services.
What is a Patent?
- The Canadian Intellectual Property Office describes a patent as:
"a right, granted by government, to exclude others from making, using, or selling your invention in Canada."
"Patents cover new inventions (process, machine, manufacture, compostion of matter) or any new and useful improvement of an existing machine."
- The United States Patent and Trademark Office defines a patent as:
"A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the inventor, issued by the Patent and Trademark Office. The term of a new patent is 20 years from the date on which the application for the patent was filed in the United States or, in special cases, from the date an earlier related application was filed, subject to the payment of maintenance fees. US patent grants are effective only within the US, US territories, and US possessions.
The right conferred by the patent grant is, in the language of the statute and of the grant itself, “the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling” the invention in the United States or “importing” the invention into the United States. What is granted is not the right to make, use, offer for sale, sell or import, but the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, selling or importing the invention."
- A Guide to patents. Canadian Intellectual Property Office.
- What every chemist should know about patents. [PDF]
- Cook, Trevor. A user's guide to patents. [print]
- Durham, Alan L. Patent law essentials: a concise guide. [online] [print]
- Gilbert, Jill. The entrepreneur's guide to patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets & licensing. [print]
- Niazi, Sarfaraz. Filing patents online: a professional guide. [online and print]
- Rockman, Howard B. Intellectual property law for engineers and scientists. [online and print]
- Shiva, Vandana. Protect or plunder? : understanding intellectual property rights. [online] [print]
- Turning science into business: patenting and licensing at public research organisations. [online] [print]
- United States Patent Office (USPTO).
Intellectual Property Law and Legislation
- Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights - The TRIPS Agreement is Annex 1C of the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization, signed in Marrakesh, Morocco on 15 April 1994.
- Intellectual property and international trade: the TRIPs agreement. [print]
- International treaties on intellectual property. [print]
- Mathews, Duncan. Globalising intellectual property rights: the TRIPs Agreement. [online and print]
- Ryan, Michael P. Knowledge diplomacy: global competition and the politics of intellectual property. [print]
- Patent Act ( R.S. 1985, c. P-4 ) [Canada - unofficial text made available by the Department of Justice website, for reference use only - note the "Act current to" date - may not contain the latest text of recent amendments to the Act]
- Canada Statute Citator.[print]
Searching for Patents
- Canadian Patents Database - access to over 75 years of patent descriptions and images from the Canadian Intellectual Property Office.
- esp@cenet - Europe's network of patent databases. A free service on the internet provided by the European Patent Organisation and the national offices of its members' states.
- Google Patents - Patents from the USPTO - but with a Google-like searching interface. Google and USPTO have an agreement to provide patents (grants, applications, assignments, classification information, and maintenance fee events) and trademarks (grants, applications, assignments, and TTAB proceedings)
- IEEE Explore - Not a patent database per se, but can display "citing patents" for any given article, showing US and European patents that cite that particular article. The full-text of the patent is available via links to the USPTO website.
- Lexis-Nexis - US patents, European patents, patent abstracts of Japan, PCT patents, and UK patents. Coverage from 1790-current. To find patents, "Search by Content Type" (drop-down box near the top-right corner of the search box) >> Patent Search.
- SciFinder Scholar - references to chemical-related patents (as well as patent applications) with links to full-text and images where they are freely available. If you are doing a chemical patent search for non-academic research which may be patentable, users should contact CAS directly about obtaining a commercial STN account instead of searching in SciFinder Scholar (which is restricted to academic research).
- United States Patent and Trademark Office - full-text since 1976, full-page images since 1790, as well as access to US patent applications. A TIFF viewer is required to view images.
- Many patents are available for download from:
- Canadian Patents Database
- United States Patent and Trademark Office
- Google Patents - Patents from the USPTO but with a Google-like searching interface. Google and USPTO have an agreement to provide patents (grants, applications, assignments, classification information, and maintenance fee events) and trademarks (grants, applications, assignments, and TTAB proceedings)
- Patent Information Users Group List of Patent Document Delivery Suppliers - users are responsible for all costs incurred.
- Patents may also be ordered thru SFU Library's Interlibrary Loan Office.
If you have any further questions about patents, please contact Crystal Yin.