How to Find a Patent DocumentHow to Find an Inventor's PatentsHow to Find a Company's PatentsHow to Find Patents Related to a Product
How to Read a U.S. Patent
Patent Landscape Analysis
This is the "Home" page of the "Patents and Designs" guide.
Alternate Page for Screenreader Users
Skip to Page Navigation
Skip to Page Content
Douglas Library, interior view of stained glass windows.

Patents and Designs  

Last Updated: May 27, 2016 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

Home Print Page

Patent Facts

In 2013, inventors filed more than 2.5 million patent applications and patent offices granted 1.17 million patents. The top five patenting jurisdictions were China, U.S., Japan, Korea and the European Patent Office. There are 9.45 million patents in force.

Source: WIPO World IP Indicators, 2014 ed.


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 new research projects and business opportunities.

Designs improve the look, feel and use of products of all sizes, ranging from as small as a pill to as large as a ship. Designs also help to create brand recognition and loyalty. Many successful companies and product lines are known by their designs and designers. 

Key Patent and Design Resources

  • Canadian Industrial Design Database (CIPO)
    Search Canadian industrial designs from 1861 to the present.
  • Canadian Patents Database (CIPO)  
    Search 2 million Canadian patents from 1869 to the present. Full-text documents are available from 1869 forward. It is updated weekly.
  • Espacenet (EPO)  
    The largest public patent database on the internet, Espacenet contains 90 million patent documents from more than 90 countries including Canada and the U.S., plus 2 million records for non-patent literature cited in EPO search reports.
  • U.S. Patent Databases (USPTO)  
    The USPTO's patent databases contain more than 9 million patents from 1790 to the present and 3 million published applications from 2001 forward. It is updated weekly.


Profile Image
Michael White, MLIS
Logo - LinkedIn
Contact Info
Room 520, Engineering & Science Library
Phone: 613-533-6785
Send Email

Loading  Loading...