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Pharmaceutical Sciences: Patents


"Patents are a rich and increasingly important source of scientific and technical information, much of which is not published elsewhere. The patent literature is interdisciplinary and international, encompassing innovations in every field of technology during the last two hundred years. Patents contain solutions to technical problems and engineering challenges. Patents reveal the current state-of-the-art and provide vital information for making informed decisions" about patent rights in new research discoveries - from Queen's University Library guide on Patents and Designs.

It is important to search patent (and non-patent) literature to understand if a research discovery/invention is novel and/or inventive - two key criteria that govern whether an invention is a patentable invention.

If patented, no-one else may commercialise the same invention for up to 20 years. A patent is valid only in the territory under the jurisdiction of the granting government.

Search for Patents in Recommended Databases

Search for Patents in International Patent Office Databases

Search tips

Try these tips:

  • Use free text searching or full-text searching (including restrictions, e.g. claims and/or abstract)
  • Search for a patent number, e.g. US4148102, EP54596, WO9802986, JP6005310
  • Search for patent assignees - the person(s) or corporate body to whom all or limited rights under a patent are legally transferred, such as Smith, John or NASA
  • Search using the Lens structured search or Lens biological search or citation analysis using PatCite
  • Search with a patent classification:
    • IPC (International Patent Classifications) in almost all the patent databases
    • USPTO classification for US patent databases
  • Machine translation of some documents is available when searching, e.g. PatentScope, Google Patents, Chinese Patent Office, and EspaceNet.

Support with research commercialisation

Research and Enterprise staff and Otago Innovation Limited staff are your first point of contact if you are interested in research commercialisation, intellectual property, consulting or business opportunities. Alternatively, contact:

Research commercialisation and innovation in Health Sciences

  • Professor Paul Glue, Associate Dean for Research Commercialisation (Health Sciences):

University of Otago Intellectual Property Rights Policy

University of Otago Intellectual Property Rights of Graduate Students Policy


Exporting Patents to EndNote

If the Patent site does NOT offer a Download or Export option, try Capture Ref to capture the data as a RIS file. Open the RIS file and it will appear in your EndNote Library. It may need some tweaking of the Patent details to be a quality reference. See full steps below searching Google Patents: