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Research Guide for Chemistry: Patents

A guide to research resources for Chemistry

Key sources of patent information

This guide provide information about databases that contain patent information and links to some
national Patent Information offices. Databases such as Espacenet, include full-text patents, when available.
There is no one comprehensive source of  patent information, so searching for information in different databases
is recommended. Science research databases also incorporate patent information relevant for research in specific
science disciplines. There are also patent information database that are made available for commercial use.

About patents

 What is a Patent?

 A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or a process that provides, in general, a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem.  In order to be patentable, the invention must fulfill certain conditions. (FAQs, WIPO)


Information about patents is available from national Patent Offices, which register grant applications, process them using specified procedures and grant patents. Registered applications go through a lenghty procedure before becoming approved and published. Once published, patents are an intellectual property of the creator(s), and are legally protected.

Patents are particularly relevant if they can be used for commercial purposes or industrial production.

An example of a patent: registering a procedure for chemical synthesis of compounds that may have therapeutic use; inventions that improve technical characteristics of an engine,etc. 

Patents must be original and must be kept confidential to be patentable. Once the patent is granted they become publically available. Patents have an expiry date and can be renewed for up to 20 years (UK).  

Disclaimer: We take no responsibility for legal issues associated with patents or intellectual property rights.

Key resources

Patent Information 

Subject Guide

Ljilja Ristic's picture
Ljilja Ristic
Radcliffe Science Library
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