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Intellectual Property: Patents, Trademarks and Copyright

About Intellectual Property and Patents

Intellectual Property Word CloudAbout Intellectual Property 

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) defines intellectual property (IP) as creations from mind.  They can include literary and artistic works, designs, and also symbols, names, and images used for business.  WIPO identifies 3 types of IP:

  • Patents are an exclusive right granted for inventions. 
  • Trademarks are signs, designs or slogans that identify a company, good, or service from those of another. 
  • Copyright are the rights granted to creators over their tangible literary or artistic works. 

Patent Icon


A patent is defined as a grant or property right over an invention or work for a set amount of time.  It prevents others from making, using, or selling it.  An inventor (and their colleagues if any are actively involved) can apply for a patent through a national patent agency.  Patents can also be issued by international patent agencies and also for multiple countries.  In the US, the United States Patent and Trade Office (USPTO) is the issuing body, while the European Patent Office (EPO) issues them for participating countries in Europe and elsewhere.

Works that are novel, useful, and nonobvious may be patented.  Perpetual motion devices, abstract ideas, laws of nature, and naturally occurring substances cannot be granted patents.

Search for Patents and Patent Agencies

US and North America


FAQs, Guides and Assistance

About Patents

How to Search for Patents

University of Central Florida Libraries (2016).  How to do a patent search [Vimeo video].

Patent Assistance at FAU

Local and National Patent Resource Centers

Guides and Books in the Library

Last updated on May 10, 2024 3:06 PM