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Patent information: Introduction to patents

Introduction to patent searching. Basic patent information as well as useful resources are included.

Off Campus Connect

For off-campus access to our licensed materials, start at the Library Homepage. Find your material using the catalog or the A-Z lists. Once you have clicked on the links you will be prompted with the proxy login screen. Login using either your Portal ID/pw or your Library account information.

For further assistance contact your Subject Specialist or library@kaust.edu.sa

For certain databases (SciFinder and Reaxys) you need to set up a Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection. Use the link below to download VPN software.

  • Download VPN ( Login under your Group with your Portal Credentials)

For further assistance with VPN contact ithelpdesk@kaust.edu.sa or call 910.

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About this Library Guide

Information in this guide is not intended to be legal advice.

For laws and legislations, contact the appropiate patent and trademark office.

What is a Patent?

Patent: "the right granted by a national government to exclude others from commercially exploiting such as making, using, offering for sale, selling or importing the invention." — World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

Patent protection is enforced only in the countries where the patent has been applied for and granted and the maintenance fees have been paid.

Generally, protection can be granted for a period of up to 20 years.

Why are patents granted? Companies, universities, and other entities receive patent protection so they can recover their research and development costs. In exchange for this protection, the information about the invention must be fully disclosed to the public.

What qualifies to be patented? National patent offices rigorously review patent applications to determine whether they qualify. Generally speaking, to be patentable an invention must be:

  • New
  • Non-obvious
  • Useful and industrially applicable

Facts, concepts, and natural phenomena cannot be patented.

Why Search for Patent Information?

Patents are a rich resource that should not be overlooked:

  • An estimated 80% of the technical information in patents is never disclosed or published elsewhere.
  • Disclosure of the invention should be presented in a concise, detailed way so that anyone with average skill in the relevant field could reproduce the invention.

There are many practical applications of patent searching:

  • Find information on what has been invented before by conducting a "novelty search." This can enable you to either improve on existing inventions or direct your research to other fields. It reduces the risk of "reinventing the wheel."
  • Identify key inventors from a competitor's company.
  • Identify companies in your research area that are potential buyers, competitors, or employers.
  • Identify collaborators in your research area for joint research.

For more information, see: Why researchers should care about patents by the European Patent Office.

Intellectual Property Policy at KAUST

See details of KAUST IP Policy (which may changed from time to time by the KAUST Board of Trustees) provided by the Technology Transfer Office of KAUST Economic Development.  

Subject Guide

Got an Invention?

Contact the Technology Transfer Office at Economic Development for further information about funding, guidelines, and policies.