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Engineering -- Electrical and Computer Engineering

A guide to electrical and computer engineering resources in UVic Libraries

What is a Patent?

What is a patent?

  • a government grants an inventor exclusive rights over a technology with a patent. The inventor then has the right to stop others from making, using, or selling the invention
  • The patent owner has a monopoly for 20 years in the country in which the patent was issued
  • Most countries have their own patent offices. In Canada, this only protects the invention within Canada. There is no such thing as a world-wide patent.

Three Types of Patents

  • Utility Patents
    • The most common type that involves a technology or device
  • Design Patents
    • A patent for the design or look and feel of a technology
  • Plant Patents
    • for plants e.g. a type of tomato or rose hybrid

What is Patentable?

In order to qualify for a patent, an invention must meet four criteria:

  1. The invention must be unique and new and never before made public in any way, anywhere, before the date of the filed application
  2. This invention must not be obvious to someone skilled in the particular field
  3. The invention must be useful or have a useful purpose
  4. The inventor must give full disclosure of the invention and how it works

Why Search for Patents?

  • 85-90% of technical information disclosed in patents does not appear anywhere else
  • Patent diagrams and detailed descriptions can give information about how something works
  • Searching the patent literature can make sure an area of research has not already been done and helps avoid duplication

Where to Search for Patents

Scopus Patent Search


Creative Commons License
This work by The University of Victoria Libraries is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License unless otherwise indicated when material has been used from other sources.