Explore engineering articles, patents, standards, and other information.

All About Patents

Guides and Tutorials

Definitions (from this page of the U.S. PTO):
Patent Trademark Copyright
"Technical inventions, such as chemical compositions like pharmaceutical drugs, mechanical processes like complex machinery, or machine designs that are new, unique, and usable in some type of industry." "A word, phrase, design, or a combination that identifies your goods or services, distinguishes them from the goods or services of others, and indicates the source of your goods or services." "Artistic, literary, or intellectually created works, such as novels, music, movies, software code, photographs, and paintings that are original and exist in a tangible medium, such as paper, canvas, film, or digital format."
Example: "A new type of hybrid engine" Example: "Coca-Cola® for soft drinks" Example: "Song lyrics to 'Let It Go'
from 'Frozen'"


Derwent Innovations Index

START with this database -- their patent TITLES have a lot of extra added detail to help you see exactly what it's about.

  • Search the full text of patents since Jan 1, 1976
  • Patents issued from 1790 through 1975 are searchable only by patent number and current U.S. classifications
  • Full-page images are available back to 1790, and require a TIFF image viewer


DII Derwent Innovations Index
IPC Codes

International Patent Classification (IPC) Codes

  • There are 8 of these, and those 8 have more divisions, and those divisions have more divisions

  • You can truncate IPC codes, so that you can see a broad range of them -- for example, H03B is H (Electricity), 03 (Basic Electronic Circuitry), B (Generation etc.):

Derwent Class Codes
  • Use to get all patents in a category of inventions
  • The 3 broad categories (Engineering, Electrical, and Chemical) are divided up into 20 smaller categories. They all start with a letter and two numbers; for example, Electrical --> Electric Power Engineering --> starts with X, and X21 is "electric vehicles."
Derwent Manual Codes
  • Use these to find the novel (new; original) aspects or applications of patents

World Intellectual Property Organization

It controls the IPC codes -- Here's an easy way to explore the whole list of IPC codes

How To Search in Derwent


1. Search for something.  Start with TOPIC, but if you get too many results, switch to TITLE or to one of the other choices in the drop-down. Add a row if you want to, and always fix the dates.

2. If you have too many results, add words to the TITLE, or search by an additional choice in the drop-down, such as Derwent Class Code. Click the icon on the right to see the list.

The three class codes and their subdivisions are Chemical, Engineering, and Electrical and Electronic.To go with my "infusion pump" search, I chose Engineering --> General --> Health..., which is P3.
--- ADD that, and then Add to Query:


3. Your search words will be highlighted. Subject areas and other filters are on the left, to help you refine your results:

4. All 409 results have the Class Code of P31. Now refine them -- one way is to choose the most popular IPC code:

5. Every record will list all of the codes that apply to that record:

6. Again, the big advantage of using Derwent over the other patent databases and tools is that these titles have been expanded so that you know exactly what the patent is about.
  • However, you can also combine USPTO and Google Patents to get good results -- don't use Google Patents alone because it's incomplete, has scanning errors, and doesn't include the most recent patents.

Overview of Intellectual Property (from USPTO)

FOR STUDENTS -- Free help with IP: