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Patents and Designs  

Last Updated: Nov 2, 2015 URL: Print Guide RSS UpdatesEmail Alerts

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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.


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