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Intellectual Property Research Guide: Patent

Overview

 

Patent law protects inventions, sucn as machines, devices, molecular structures, and manufacturing processes. We recommend that you begin your patent research with secondary sources, such as legal encyclopedias, treatises, and law review articles.

In-depth Secondary Sources
Primary Sources


Statutory law: The Patent Act, Title 35 of the United States Code, was enacted in accordance with article I, section 8, clause 8 of the U.S. Constitution. The official version of Title 35  is on the U.S. Government Publishing Office Website. Lexis and Westlaw maintain updated, annotated versions of the code with features for accessing related primary law, legislative history, secondary sources, and more.

Proposed Legislation:

  • Congress.gov is the Library of Congress free legislative research service, and the website allows searches of all legislation from 1973 to the current legislative session.
  • GovTrack.us maintains records of federal legislation and legislators going back to 1972. The platform supports searches, tracking, and alerts.
  • Lexis and Westlaw also provide bill searching and tracking features. On Westlaw, the database is Federal Proposed and Enacted Legislation, and on Lexis, it is Bill Text.
     

Regulations: Patent regulations are codified in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 37, Part I. This version of the regulations from the Cornell LII website, is user-friendly, but not the official version. Access the official version on the U.S. Government Publishing Office website. Lexis or Westlaw maintain up-to-date, annotated versions of the CFR with features for linking to relevant regulatory history, code sections, case law, administrative law, and more.

Case Law: The best way to find relevant case law is to start with a secondary source. Alternatively, if you have a citation to a statute, use the annotations or Shepardize (Lexis) or KeyCite (Westlaw) the statute to find relevant cases.

Patent Searches:

  • Search full-text and image databases on the USPTO website.‚Äč
  • Free Patents Online provides user-friendly navigation and searching, with linked categories to assist. 
  • Google Patents provides searcing using the familiar Google interface.
Online Collections
  • U.S. Patent and Trademark Office: This website provides information on the basics of patent law, FAQs, patent searching, how to file for a patent, more. It also hosts the USPTO Official Gazette for Patents, the official weekly journal of the USPTO. The Gazette includes bibliographic information and drawings for each patent granted.
  • Westlaw
    • Patents & Applications: Search United States patents & applications, applications filed with the World Intellectual Property Organization, and applications filed in some Asian and European countries. (Accessible only with Westlaw login credentials; UC Hastings students, faculty, and staff only.)
    • The Practical Law Patent Counseling & Transactions page collects resources such as practice notes, standard documents, checklists, articles, and country Q&As related to counseling and transaction practices. (Accessible only with Westlaw login credentials; UC Hastings students, faculty, and staff only.)
    • The Practical Law Patent Litigation page collects resources related to patent litigation practices. (Accessible only with Westlaw login credentials; UC Hastings students, faculty, and staff only.)
  • Lexis
    • Lexis has a Patent Law Collection of cases, statutes and legislation, regulations, administrative materials, secondary materials, and practice related materials. (Accessible only with Lexis login credentials; UC Hastings students, faculty, and staff only.)
    • The USPTO Patent Decisions Database includes BPAI and PTAB decisions going back as far as 1928. There are also options to search precedential and non-precedential decisions separately. (Accessible only with Lexis login credentials; UC Hastings students, faculty, and staff only.)
  • Bloomberg Law Patents & Trade Secrets provides news, legal analysis, legislative and regulatory watch pages, a PTAB Challenge Navigator tool, and legal insights written by practitioners.
Study Aids
Additional Research Guides