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Patent Information: Key patent databases

Guide to patent resources

Purpose of this guide

This guide is intended for students and researchers at the University of Oxford seeking support with finding Patents.

Use this guide to find out about key resources on patents. 


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.  

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 the content of external web sites, or any legal issues associated with the use of free databases.       

About patents

What is a Patent?

A patent (according to WIPO) 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". To get a patent, technical information about the invention must be disclosed to the public in a patent application.

Key resources

Physical Sciences Librarian

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Alessandra Vetrugno
Radcliffe Science Library
+44 (0)1865 272817
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