PTRC | Conducting a Patentability Search

Take a look at these helpful materials from the US Patent and Trade Office:

Video Tutorial Overview & Basic Steps


Keep in Mind:

  • Keyword searching will not provide the full picture! Patent language is not intuitive for the layperson. For example, a bicycle is classified as an "Occupant Propelled Land Vehicle."
  • A complete patentability search must consider all prior art, including earlier patents, foreign patents, and non-patent literature.

While most searches can make use of the USPTO Web Patent Databases through general Internet access, NC State University Libraries additionally provides on-site access to Cassis and PubWEST:

USPTO Web Patent Databases

  • Full-text of all US patents issued since January 1, 1976, and full-page images of each page of every US patent issued since 1790
  • Updated weekly
  • Offers several basic and advanced search options

PubWEST and PubEAST Databases

  • Patent searching tools used by patent examiners
  • Keyword search available from 1920
  • Some international patent coverage
  • Updated weekly
  • Allows bulk download of select patent data as .csv file (PubWEST only)
  • Requires staff login