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Information and strategies for patent searching.

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Reminder: Online Access

  • Library resources require going through CWRU Single Sign-On.
  • The best method is to follow links from the library website.
  • When logged in and a browser window is not closed, access should continue from resource to resource.
  • Remember to close your browser when done.

Search Strategies

  • Search by patent or application number
  • Simple word searches
    • Best to search formal literature to learn keywords first
  • Advanced searches, such as adding inventor, assignee, or other data
  • Try synonyms
  • Foreign spellings (tire vs tyre, color vs colour)
  • Consider the context of terminology (what are words used by the inventor in that specific field of study)
  • Common spelling errors
  • Abbreviations common to specific fields
  • Classification codes

Classification Codes - Find Related Patents

Classification Codes Example:

Potato Chips = 426/637
637 Potato
This subclass is indented under subclass 615. Subject matter involving material derived from
an edible tuber, i.e., white potato, sweet potato & yam.
615 Plant material is basic ingredient other than extract, starch or protein

Try Classification Codes for yourself.

Have you seen a Koosh Ball?Koosh Ball or soft-touch ball

How would you describe it?

  • How would you classify it?
  • Is it a toy?
  • Is it a keychain?
  • Is it an ornament?
  • What type of material is it made of?
  • What is the function?
  • What is theshape?

(Thank you for this example from Brian Matthews at Georgia Tech Library.)

Generally spherical object with floppy filaments to promote sure capture

US 4,756,529; July 12, 1988
An amusement device which has a substantially spherical configuration, & which is formed from a large plurality of floppy, elastomeric filaments that radiate in a dense, bushy manner from a central core region. The filaments are sufficiently floppy to collapse on impact, thus to absorb enough energy to avoid any tendency to bounce. They are also sufficiently dense & floppy that they tend to quickly thread their way between the fingers of a user on contact with the hand. These features promote sure & quick capture of the device during the act of catching.

Legal Status, Ownership, & Related Information

Patent owners are not required to notify the USPTO when a patent is assigned, but some assignments are reported. Beyond what is listed on formal application or granted patent documents, you can explore:

  • "Legal Events" in Espacenent for each document
  • USPTO Assignment Search Database
  • Legal and financial filings such as SEC filings
  • Commerical database (not available through CWRU Libraries)

Example of Legal Events data included in Espacement databasePublic Patent Application Information Retrieval database display

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