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Intellectual Property Basics

Guide to researching intellectual property law, including patent, copyright, and trademark.

Welcome

Welcome

This guide provides information about researching intellectual property law, including books, subscription databases, and free internet resources.

Overview

Intellectual Property: Summaries & Explanations

Get started with these books aimed at law school students.

Practice Centers

Practice Centers are landing pages that connect you with curated materials on a legal topic. The following practice centers provide strong starting places for intellectual property research. On these pages you can find cases, statutes and regulations, secondary sources, news and current awareness updates for practitioners.

Intellectual Property In depth

Dig deeper with these treatises on IP law

Keeping up with IP Law

Sources for news, new scholarship & current awareness

Study tools

Audio CaseFiles

Download recordings of cases commonly read in first and second year courses.

CALI Lessons

CALI provides access to interactive, computer-based lessons designed to augment traditional law school instruction. You can use the lessons to supplement your studies and to review specific concepts.

Patents

Patent Law: Summaries & Explanations

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U.S. Patent & Trademark Office

"The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the federal agency for granting U.S. patents and registering trademarks. In doing this, the USPTO fulfills the mandate of Article I, Section 8, Clause 8, of the Constitution that the legislative branch "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

The USPTO website provides education and guidance on how to conduct a patent search: 

USPTO also maintains databases that users can search within to learn more about prior art:

The US PTO puts out an Official Gazette, a journal, "published weekly on Tuesday, that includes bibliographic information and a representative drawing for each patent granted or trademark published on that issue date."

Google Patent Search

Google Patents includes U.S. PTO records from 1790 and the WIPO and EPO from 1978.

Google Patents Home Screen

"You can search the full text of U.S. patents by selecting "Patents" from within Google search, from the search box at the top of any patent page, or by typing the grant or application number into Google."  Advanced search features that allow you to find results by criteria such as inventor, classification, keyword, and filing date are also available.

Lexis TotalPatent One

This platform allows you to search issued patents, published patent applications, and utility models, globally. Full-text patent documents from 56 patent authorities are included. It also incorporates analytics, IP documentation, and editorial insights.

110 Million Full Text Documents from patent authorities across the globe, regardless of origin, containing the most complete full-text English database on the planet.  70 million patent families four family types: domestic, main, complete, and extended.  75 Fields to search and filter for a multitude of possibilities to visualize data.  70 Terabytes of Patent Data.  Text, PDF, and images.  More than 6 times the information in Wikipedia.  700 Million Images scan and find the exact prior art you need.

You can access Lexis TotalPatent One through the following:

Keeping up with Patent Law

Sources for news, new scholarship & current awareness:

Copyright

Copyright Law: Summaries & Explanations

Get started with these books for law school students.

Copyright Law in Depth

U.S. Copyright Office

The Copyright Office is a part of the Library of Congress.  It was established in 1870, and recognized by Congress as a separate department in 1897.   "The Copyright Office registers copyright claims, records information about copyright ownership, provides information to the public, and assists Congress and other parts of the government on a wide range of copyright issues."

Through the Copyright Office you can search copyright records: 

The Copyright Office has a notification system, alerts, website postings, and announcements:

Fair Use

"Fair use provisions of the copyright law allow use of copyrighted materials on a limited basis for specific purposes without requiring the permission of the copyright holder."  This often comes up in the academic context. Below are some materials providing more information and guidance on the fair use doctrine.

Keeping up with Copyright Law

Sources for news, new scholarship & current awareness:

Trademarks

Trademark Law: Summaries & Explanations

Get started with these books for law school students.

Trademark Law in depth

U.S. Patent & Trademark Office

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) registers trademarks based on the commerce clause of the Constitution (Article I, Section 8, Clause 3)."  Regulations implementing the Trademark Modernization Act of 2020 (TMA) went into effect on December 18, 2021. The USPTO now has "new tools to clear away unused registered trademarks from the federal trademark register and [can] move applications through the registration process more efficiently." 

The USPTO website provides education and guidance on how to conduct a trademark search: 

USPTO also maintains databases that users can search within to learn more about claimed trademarks:

The USPTO also "handles appeals involving applications to register marks, appeals from expungement or reexamination proceedings involving registrations, and trial cases of various types involving applications or registrations."

The USPTO puts out an Official Gazette, a journal, "published weekly on Tuesday, that contains bibliographic information and a representative drawing for each mark published, along with a list of cancelled and renewed registrations."

Search Trademarks

Keeping up with Trademark Law

Sources for news, new scholarship & current awareness

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CC License

CC License

Creative Commons License

This guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

You may reproduce any part of it for noncommercial purposes as long as credit is included and it is shared in the same manner.