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Patent Information for EE 364D Introduction To Engineering Design

Why Research Patents?

Why an engineer might be interested in patents:

Governments grant patents to inventors as an incentive.  A patent gives legal rights which may help the inventor find financial reward in invention.  But, there is a trade-off; in a patent, the inventor describes the invention, allowing others to benefit from the information.  These benefits include design solutions and inspiration for more innovation.

Mostly obviously, a patent document is sought for:

  • the details of invention revealed in the patent. 

Patent literature also may be useful for:

  • Prior art (that is, existing patents and other literature) concerning a specific technology -- this is required when planning a patent application but also of interest when looking for design solutions and inspiration
  • Information about a company based on its patents
  • Information about a researcher based on the individual's patents
  • A sense of current invention found by exploring new patent applications in areas of interest.

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