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Patent Law Research Guide

This guide covers the basic legal resources for United States Patent Law, including primary and secondary resources.


The United States Constitution:  Article I Section 8. Clause 8 -- Intellectual Property Clause of the Constitution.  [Grants Congress the power] "To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries." The historical origins of the U.S. patent law can be traced to as far back as ancient Greece, through the patent statute of Renaissance Venice in 1474, the 1623 English Statute of Monopolies, and the custom that colonial Americans derived from the English patent practices. While drafting the Constitution James Madison and Charles Pinckney pressed for a uniform system patents which resulted in the clause above, "[to] promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."  [See Craig Allen Nard, The Law of Patents (3rd ed., 2014), "Chapter 1, History and Architecture of the Patent System."]

This research guide provides basic patent law resources accessible to law students, including some resources in related subjects such as licensing, economics, and litigation.