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Intellectual Property Research Guide: Patents

Where to look in the library

Intellectual Property materials are generally found in the call number range KF2971-KF3193.

Books are on 10 or in Academic Success on 6 (and in rare cases, on reserve on 6).

Related Subject Headings include:

Intellectual property -- United States

Patent laws and legislation -- United States

Patents -- United States

Patent licenses -- United States

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A patent is a monopoly, granted by the federal government for a limited period of time, to make, use, or sell an invention. Today, patents are granted in the United States by the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) of the Department of Commerce. The British origins of American patent law extend back to the Letters of Protection to John Kempe, issued in 1331, and the Statute of Monopolies enacted in 1624. After American independence, under the Articles of Confederation, the power to grant patents was retained by the states. Under the Constitution, the federal government was so empowered by Article I, Section 8, Clause 8. Since Gibbons v. Ogden, 22 U.S. 1 (1824), as a practical matter, the states have not been in the business of granting patents.

The First Congress passed the Patent Act of 1790. Subsequent statutes involving patents were enacted in 1793, 1836, and 1870. During the next 82 years some 60 additional amendments were enacted. The next major revision came in the form of the Patent Act of 1952, which is the statute still in effect, as amended. This may be found at 35 U.S.C. Sections 1-376.



BNA Library

A great starting point is the BNA library (also on Lexis and Westlaw), including

  • Titles 35 (Patents) and 17 (Copyrights), and selected parts of Title 15 (Trademarks in Chapter 22 and Technology Innovation in Chapter 63) of the U.S. Code;
  • Title 37 of the Code of Federal Regulations; 
  • Patent, Trademark & Copyright Journal (BNA), a news and analysis serives, available as a daily email alert
  • Related treatises
  • United States Patent Quarterly from 1929 to the present.


The CCH library includes

  • The Copyright Law Reporter
  • The Trademark Law Guide

Lexis and Westlaw

Both Lexis and Westlaw have subject-specific tabs that can be added to your personal page to help focus your research. Be aware that not all resources listed will be available via John Marshall's academic subscription.

Illinois Resources

IICLE: Intellectual Property, KF2979 .I58 2008, and on IICLE Smartbooks

Midwest Transaction Guide, KF890 M54, and on Lexis

General IP Treatises

Jay Dratler, Jr., Intellectual Property Law: Commercial, Creative, and Industrial Property (1991-date) KF2979 .D72, available in Westlaw

Michael A. Epstein, Epstein on Intellectual Property (5th ed. 2005-date)  KF 2976.5 E67

Roger E. Schechter & John R. Thomas, Intellectual Property: The Law of Copyrights, Patents and Trademarks (2003) - KF2980 .S3 2003

Patent-Specific Treatises

Donald S. Chisum, Chisum on Patents (1978-date)  KF2994 .A47, available in Lexis

Robert L. Harmon, Harmon on Patents: Black-Letter Law and Commentary (2007)  KF3114 .H35 2007 ,available in BNA ALL

Robert L. Harmon, Patents and the Federal Circuit (8th ed. 2007-date)  KF3114 .H347 ,available in BNA ALL

Ronald B. Hildreth, Patent Law: A Practitioner’s Guide (3d ed. 1998-???)  KF3098 .H54 1998, available in Lexis

Siegrun D. Kane, Kane on Trademark Law: A Practitioner’s Guide (5th ed. 2007-date) - KF3180 .K35

Roger M. Milgrim, Milgrim on Licensing (1990-date)  KF3145.A6 M55, available in Lexis

R. Carl Moy, Moy’s Walker on Patents (4th ed. 2003-date)  KF3114 M69, available in Westlaw

Peter D. Rosenberg, Patent Law Fundamentals (2d ed. 1980-date)  KF3114 .R723 , available in Westlaw

Some of the Patent Academic Success Books

Some of the IP Academic Success Books

The library has many of IP-related study guides in the Academic Success collection on the 6th Floor.