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Civil and Environmental Engineering: Find Patents and Trademarks

About Patents and Trademarks

A patent is a government license that gives the holder exclusive rights to a process, design, or new invention for a designated period of time.  In the U.S. granting a patent means “to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States” for a limited time.
A trademark is a word, name, symbol or device which is used in trade with goods to indicate the source of the goods and to distinguish them from the goods of others.  Trademark rights may be used to prevent others from using a confusingly similar mark, but not to prevent others from making the same goods or from selling the same goods or services under a clearly different mark.
In the U.S., patents and trademarks are issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  U.S. patents are effective only within the U.S, U.S. territories, and U.S. possessions.  Each country has its own granting institution.  At the international level, the licensing process is facilitated by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), a specialized agency of the United Nations.
Anyone applying for a patent or registering a trademark or design, whether at the national or international level, is required to determine whether their creation is new or is owned or claimed by someone else.

Searching for U.S. Trademarks

Where to Search for Patents

Patent/Prior Art Searching

Need Additional Help?

A group of Carnegie Mellon librarians provides an effective introduction to those new to patent searching.  Our goal is to boost the confidence of preliminary patent searching (prior to meeting with a patent agent or patent attorney).  Meet with us to learn about the importance of patent classification searching, the visualization of search results, important techniques for expanding your search, and tips on maintaining a personal file of patents related to your potential invention.  Please contact us:

Haoyong Lan

Matt Marsteller

Jimmy McKee