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Patents, Standards and Codes: Patents

A guide to accessing patents, standards, and codes.

Patents, Standards and Codes


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The World Intellectual Property Organisation defines a patent as "an exclusive right granted for an invention. In other words, a patent is an exclusive right to a product or a process that generally provides a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem. To get a patent, technical information about the invention must be disclosed to the public in a patent application".

According to the World Intellectual Property Organisation, patents can be granted for "inventions in any field of technology, from an everyday kitchen utensil to a nanotechnology chip. An invention can be a product – such as a chemical compound, or a process, for example – or a process for producing a specific chemical compound. Many products in fact contain a number of inventions. For example, a laptop computer can involve hundreds of inventions, working together".

According to IP Australia you cannot patent:

  • Human beings or the biological process for their generation
  • Artistic creation
  • Mathematical models
  • Plans, schemes or other mental processes
  • Inventions with military aspects

How to find patents

AusPat - IP Australia

Search for Australian patents, trademarks and designs, records go back to 1979.

USPTO – United States Patent and Trademark Office

Step by Step Guidance on searching for US-based patents across a range of resources including Patent Public Search a new web-based application that replaces legacy search tools PatFT and AppFT. 

CNIPA - National Intellectual Property Administration, China
Search for full text Chinese patents, records go back to 1980's.

Espacenet - European Patent Office

Search for full-text images of worldwide patent documents. 

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

Search WIPO's Patentscope database for International patent collections.

Patent Lens

You can use the Patent Lens to search  the full-text of over 8 million patents and applications.  Data is updated weekly with bulk data obtained through subscriptions with WIPO, USPTO, EPO and IP Australia. Over the last year PCT, US, EPO and Australian coverage has been expanded to include all classifications.

Google Patents

Using the familiar Google search interface you can search the US Patent and Trademark Office database.


The Patentscope Search Service enables you to do full-text search in over 1.6 million published international patent applications from the first publication in 1978.


The CAS SciFinder Discovery Platform is made up of three databases that aim to provide comprehensive coverage of chemistry and chemical engineering through one of the largest collections of organic and inorganic substance information. You can use the Scifinder-n database to specifically search for patents from over 109 issuing patent authorities covering more than 40,000 unique IPC codes.  

You can read more about CAS Patents at this link. 

To search for patents:

  1. Click on Analyse/Refine on the results page
  2. Click on Refine
  3. Click on Document Type
  4. Check Patent box


 Except for logos, Canva designs or where otherwise indicated, content in this guide is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International Licence.