University of Minnesota
Office for Technology Commercialization

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For Inventors

Other Resources

Internet Search

Intellectual Property & Patent Information

PDF DocPatent filing Process & Responsibilities Brochure [PDF]

Guide to help researchers know what to expect after OTC files a Provisional Patent Application

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Contains a wide variety of information on U.S. Patents and Trademarks, including a search function for issued and pending U.S. patent

Google Patents

Google’s search tool for searching and downloading PDF copies of patents and patent applications

Patent Lens

A free comprehensive resource for worldwide patent information; has some advanced comparison features


A free patent search tool for searching and downloading PDF copies of patents and patent applications

U.S. Copyright Office

Contains a wide variety of information on U.S. Copyrights, including a search function

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

Resources and information on international intellectual property, including PCT (international) applications


Business & Entrepreneurship Information

Small Business Innovation Research

The U.S. Government site for the Small Business Innovation Research Program (SBIR) and the Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR)

Small Business Administration Business Plan Tool

A step-by-step guide to building your business roadmap

Minnesota’s Dept of Employment & Economic Development (DEED)

Information from Minnesota’s Office of Science & Technology on SBIR & STTR grants

Life Science Alley

A Minnesota-based trade association that promotes technology commercialization

Featured Commercial Initiatives & Centers

Lilly Open Innovation Drug Discovery (OIDD) Program

Program in which drug giant Lilly partners with university researchers to identify potential small molecule therapeutics

UMN Committee for Pharmaceutical Development

The CPD aims to identify, develop, and commercialize pharmaceutical products by forming networks, fostering dialogue between university researchers and industry experts, and providing translational research support.

UMN Institute for Therapeutics Discovery & Development

Research and services for drug discovery and early pre-clinical drug development

UMN Institute for Engineering in Medicine

Institute committed to partnering with biomedical and medical device companies

UMN Medical Devices Center

Center focused on interdisciplinary medical device research and development

UMN Medical Industry Leadership Institute

Center focused on bringing together executives, physicians, students, and academic leaders in the medical industry

UMN Center for Translational Medicine

Provides a comprehensive portfolio of services that will augment the development and implementation of novel, medical treatment strategies

Biotechnology Center

BioTechnology Institute (BTI) provides advanced research, training, and university-industry interaction in biological process technology

UMN Carlson Ventures Enterprise

Carlson Business School program; includes the “Innovation by Design” program that creates new business ventures


iBridge Network

Site devoted to marketing University-developed technologies, features a number of technologies developed by University of Minnesota researchers

Technology marketplace that brings together technology buyers and sellers

AUTM Better World Report

The Better World Project shares the stories behind university innovations that have changed the way we live; includes examples from the University of Minnesota!


Comprehensive information about companies and industries

University of Minnesota Policy Library

Includes Regents Policies surrounding “Commercialization of Intellectual Property Rights” and “Copyright”

More Information

Conducting Patent Searches

Below are some tips to help you with your patent search:

  • Patent database searches are as critical as literature database searches to determine if your invention is novel
  • There are many free web-based tools for searching patent databases!
  • PDF copies of patents can be downloaded free using sites like Google Patents or Patent Lens
  • Begin your search by using keywords or phrases that describes your invention
  • Advanced searches by “Inventor” name or “Assignee” (the entity who owns the patent) are useful and can aid in competitive analysis
  • Be aware that titles of patent applications are often not very useful or descriptive; the patent claims are typically the best indicator of the invention

Please contact us at if you have questions or find your department's TSM on our contact page.