Patents provide protection for inventors, enabling them to manufacture and profit from their inventions without fear of competition. Patents are usually granted for a limited time.
Click on the following link to browse the subject categories in the U.S. Cooperative Patent Classification. This patent classification system (which integrates with the European Classification System) superseded the United States Classification (USPC) system in 2015. You can search both classification schemes here.
For a quick search of patents, start at the Google site below. For more in depth patent searching, start at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) link. Waldo Library's Government Documents department (2nd floor) has USAPAT, a DVD collection of U.S. patents from 2000 onward, in its collection at call number C 21.31 Years 1994-1999 are available in a CD-ROM version. Both sets are in a locked cabinet. Ask the engineering librarian for assistance in accessing these.