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Patent Resources: Home

A guide for locating patent resources available through the D'Azzo Research Library, as well as background information on the importance of patents to the Air Force Research Laboratory.

This guide is intended to provide an overview of the Patent and Intellectual Property material available through the D'Azzo Research Library. If you are interested in a more in-depth survey of Patent material, I will be happy to meet with you and discuss our material in greater detail. Please contact me and make an appointment at any time convenient for you.

Access to Online Resources

Library Card & EZProxy Access Form

The form above will register you for access to library assets both print and electronic. There are two ways to submit the form: 1.) You can print out a copy and bring the completed and signed form to the library's Circulation Desk for processing between 0730 and 1630, Monday-Friday. OR, 2.) You can fill out the form online, apply your digital signature and submit it via email. If you experience any difficulties please don't hesitate to contact us:

RX Liaison Librarian:  937-255-5511 x4271

Electronic Resources Librarian: email  (937) 255-5511 x4270

Hours of Operation & Locations


AFRL D'Azzo Research Library
Mon - Thurs:
7:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Fri: 7:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Closed Federal Holidays

AFRL staff are available to help you:
Mon-Fri: 8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. 

AFRL Wright Research Site Special Collections Library
Monday - Friday: 9:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Closed Federal Holidays
AFRL D'Azzo Research Library
Area B, Bldg. 642, Rm. 1300
2950 Hobson Way
Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 45433-7765

Building 642 is located in Area B in the AFIT complex between Hobson Way, Ascani Avenue (formerly Q Street), and 10th Street. There is parking across from the building.

AFRL Wright Research Site Special Collections Library
(formerly known as the Technical Reports Center, Library Secure Collection, or the Reports Vault)
Area B, Bldg. 45, Rm. 45
2130 Eighth Street
Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 45433-7542

Patents: A Basic Description

A patent is a legal document that provides the patent holder with legal protection, for a limited time, to the subject matter described in the patent. The patent holder is allowed to exclude others from making, selling, using, or importing anything  that is within the scope of protection granted by the patent. Patents are issued by the Patent Office of a country -- in the United States, this is the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Patents can be granted to either a firm or an individual, and are enforced by the patent holder, not the Patent Office.

Patents can be one of three types: utility patents, design patents or plant patents.

Utility Patents normally fall into one of four classes:

  • Machine -- a device or apparatus created by someone for the performance of a task 
  • Process -- a process created by someone  
  • Manufacture -- a fabricated or manufactured product 
  • The Composition of Matter -- a chemical mixture or compound created by someone 

Design patents cover a single ornamental design in each application. The ornamental design may be:

  • embodied in an entire article, OR
  • only a portion of an article, OR
  • may be ornamentation applied to an article.

(If a design patent is for just surface ornamentation, the design patent application must show the design applied to an article in the drawings, and the article with the design applied must be shown in broken lines, as it is not itself a part of the claimed design.)

A plant patent is granted to an individual or firm who has invented -- or discovered and asexually reproduced -- a distinct and new variety of plant.

What makes something "patentable"?

  • Usefulness/Utility: The invention, as claimed, must be both functional and useful. A machine must work according to the intended purpose, and a chemical must show some sort of activity or have some use.
  • Novelty: The invention must be unique, and different from anything known previously; it must not have been described in a prior publication, nor can it have been publicly sold or used.
  • Ingenuity/Non-obviousness: The invention must be a development or improvement not obvious beforehand to users of an average skill level in the technological area involved in the invention.

Both "Novelty" and "Ingenuity" are judged against what is publicly known before the invention, as shown by earlier patents and other publications. This is called "prior art", and is cited in the patent to justify its unique status.


eJournals and eBooks on Patents and Intellectual Property

eJournals and eBooks of Interest:

Connect with Michelle

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Michelle Burwinkel
937-255-5511 x.4239
DSN: 785-5511 x.4239

Books on Patents and Intellectual Property

Books of Interest:

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