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The search methods detailed in this tutorial are based on the U.S. Patent Classification system developed and maintained by the USPTO. If you are searching for patents based on subject matter, the U.S. Classification search is most useful because every patent is assigned to a specific set of classications. While Keyword searching is useful, complete search results are less likely due to the inconsistancy of terminology used in the full text of patents.
Doing a search on patents can be complex and lengthy but there are resources available to you free of charge that can help you refine your search for the most efficient results, get exactly the information you need, and pursue your own patent. We have selected the best of these for the Patents & Trademarks Research Guide from Penn State University Libraries.
The United States Patent & Trademark Office from the United States Department of Commerce offers an overview of this agency as well as information about nearly anything the inventor would like to know about patent and trademark policies and procedures.