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Industrial Engineering

A guide to Industrial Engineering

What is a Patent?

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.

Source: World Intellectual Property Office. What is a patent? Retrieved May 5, 2017 from

Why are patents important?
Patents legally identify inventions as belonging to the inventor. Patents are thus useful if:

  • You have invented something and want to make sure no one steals your idea.
  • To make sure your own idea is original and that is, no one else has already
    invented it.
  • To find information that doesn’t exist elsewhere in scholarly publishing.

Different kinds of patents:

There are different kinds of patents for different types of innovation generally they fall under three categories:

  1. Utility Patent
  2. Design Patent
  3. Plant Patent

These definitions and more can be found at The United States Patent and Trademark Office

Obtaining a Patent:
Some patents are available on the Web. Order others through our Document Delivery Service. Patents are not collected by Sexton Library.

Subject Guide

Sarah Jane Dooley's picture
Sarah Jane Dooley
Your subject specialist Sarah Jane Dooley is on leave until January 2019.

For all research related inquiries:

Email Allison Fulford, Head of the Sexton Library (

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