A patent is an exclusively right granted for an invention, which is a product or a process that provides a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem. (WIPO)
Resources for Patents
esp@cenet International patent database (by European Patent Office) containing 100+ million patents from more than 90 national and regional patent offices. Online tutorials for esp@cenet searching are available here.
U.S. Patent Office
U.S. patents, 1790 to present and published applications, 2001 to present. Patents prior to 1976 can be retrieved by number, date and classification. TIFF viewer required to view/print patent documents. General overview of the U.S. patent system.
This database contains U.S. patents from 1971 forward, searchable by keyword, patent number, classification number, lawyer, assignee, inventor or summary.