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Patents & Existing Research

Intellectual Property (IP) rights include copyrights, trademarks, patents, industrial design rights, and trade secrets.

It’s important to establish what you own and don’t own as early as you can in your commercialization process.

Popular search tools

Google Patents Search Tool provides a user-friendly, on-line interface to search existing patents by key word, phrase, patent name, number, classification or inventor’s name.

Inventors & Entrepreneurs Resources at the U.S. Department of Commerce Office of Innovation Development provides excellent training materials and videos to inform you about the IP process.

Minnesota’s Patent and Trademark Resource Center is located on the 2nd floor of Hennepin County’s Minneapolis Central Library and provides reference materials, guides and access to powerful search tools for researching patents and trademarks. Both the Examiner's Automated Search Tool (PubEAST) and the Web-based Examiner's Search Tool (PubWEST) are available at the library. Expert staff offer training events and assistance on navigating patenting and trademarking processes. In addition, the Library’s Online resources for business has information for planning, operating, marketing and financing a business.

Legal Assistance

If you are looking for an IP attorney, the Lawyer Referral System website provides a list of firms that provide intellectual property law services. These services help you protect new inventions in all areas of technology, the name of your company, products, services, and slogans, and they protect your writings, programs, sculptures, architectural works and many other works that are copyrightable to help enhance your chance for on-going success in the marketplace.

LegalCORPS’s Minnesota Inventor Assistance Program provides free legal representation to help financially under-resourced independent inventors and small businesses patent their innovations with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO).

U.S. Department of Energy Research & Patents 

Office of Scientific and Technical Information 

DOE OSTI provides access to the results of DOE research and development (R&D) investments across the full spectrum of DOE R&D programs so findings are available and useful to researchers and the public seeking to advance energy technologies.

DOE EERE Energy Innovation Portal 

The Energy Innovation Portal is a one-stop resource for comprehensive DOE Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE) technologies. These technologies can be viewed as marketing summaries, which provide business friendly descriptions of the technology, or by the patent itself as available for licensing.

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