A patent is an intellectual-property contract between the patent holder and the issuing government agency, whereby the inventor of some new technology is granted exclusive rights to the use and sale of their invention. In exchange the patent holder enriches public knowledge by providing a detailed description of the new technology.
A patented technology can be a new technique or process, or a design for a physical or mechanical device. Patents and patent applications generally contain extensive verbal descriptions and illustrations and are rich territory for research on technological developments in hardware, software and other areas relevant to Electrical, Electronic and Computer and Engineering.
The best tool available to NYU students for searching patents and patent applications is Nexis Uni (formrly Lexis Nexis Academic). Patents and patent applications can also be searched directly on the web sites of governmental and international patent-granting organizations. For more information on patent searching see the library's Patents page.