Skip to Main Content

Engineering Subject Guide — Patents

This guide offers information for students and faculty, on and off campus, on locating library resources and services suited for the School of Engineering.

What is a Patent?

A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the inventor, issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Generally, the term of a new patent is 20 years from the date on which the application for the patent was filed in the United States or, in special cases, from the date an earlier related application was filed, subject to the payment of maintenance fees. U.S. patent grants are effective only within the United States, U.S. territories, and U.S. possessions. Under certain circumstances, patent term extensions or adjustments may be available.


There are three types of patents:

  • Utility patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof;
  • Design patents may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture; and
  • Plant patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant.

Source: USPTO (U.S. Patent Trademark Office):

Learn more about Patents:

Important Note

Patent searching and filing is difficult and the stakes are high. Infringement of patents is a legal matter. Please consult with a lawyer if you are uncertain about patent infringement.

Patent and Trademark Resource Centers

The closest US Patent trademark research centers to UConn are in Providence, Rhode Island and in Amherst, Massachusetts.  The former USPTRC at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut has closed.

Searching for Patents