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Patents & Standards: Patents

This guide will help you find patent information and standards.

What is a patent?


A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention. To get a patent, technical information about the invention must be disclosed to the public in a patent application.

Patent protection is granted for a limited period and only applicable in the country or region in which the patent has been filed and granted. Once a patent expires, the protection ends, and an invention enters the public domain; that is, anyone can commercially exploit the invention without infringing the patent.

Reasons to search for patent information

  • Patentability: to find out if an invention has already been patented, or if there are any existing inventions that are similar or share aspects of the invention.
  • Freedom to operate or use: to check if any patents on a product to be manufactured have expired in order to avoid licensing or litigation.
  • Finding a company to form a partnership or license of an invention: these companies are easily identified by the number of recent patents that they hold, or the number of pending applications that they have filed, in the given class of technology.
  • State-of-the-art search: patent applications are published for public review 18 months after their filing dates, and often contain the most cutting-edge documentation available for research. Some researchers may use patents as primary sources for their research in addition to other types of non-patent literature (journal articles, conference papers, technical reports, etc.).
    • track the progress of emerging technologies
    • find solutions to technical problems
    • see what your competitors are developing

Understand patent information



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Inventor(s): who invented the patent
Applicant(s): who holds the rights of exclusive use of a patent

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Description of the claimed invention and related developments in the field of technology.

List of claims indicating the scope of patent protection sought by the applicant.

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 Priority Date in Priority Number: the date when a patent application is firstly filed at a patent office. Once the patent is granted, the inventor will have the exclusive right to use his invention from the filing date.

  • A standard patent lasts for up to 20 years.
  • An innovation patent only lasts for up to 8 years.
  • Pharmaceutical patents can last up to 25 years.

Legal status: grant, application, withdrawn, expired, abandoned, etc.

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Patents are territory-specific. In application number or publication number, country codes  means in which countries the patent is protected.

WIPO covers 193 countries and states in 2020. A patent with WO in publication number is protected worldwide within 30 months of filing date, more information is available on WIPO website.