How To Cite A Patent: Unlock The Secrets Of Accurate Patent Citation!

How Do You Cite A Patent?

A patent is a legal document that grants the inventor of a new and useful invention the exclusive right to make, use, or sell the invention for a limited period of time.

How To Cite A PatentCourtesy:(IP Watchdog)
How To Cite A Patent
Courtesy:(IP Watchdog)

Patents are important sources of information for researchers, inventors, students, or anyone who wants to learn more about the history and development of technology and innovation.

If you want to use or refer to a patent in your academic or professional work, you need to cite it properly and give credit to the original inventor and patent office.

However, citing a patent can be tricky because there are different formats and styles for doing so depending on the purpose and context of your work.

In this article, we will explain how to cite a patent in some of the most common citation styles, such as APA, MLA, Chicago, and IEEE.

We will also provide some examples and tips for finding and using patent information.

APA Style

APA (American Psychological Association) style is one of the most widely used citation styles in the social and behavioral sciences.

It follows the author-date system, which means that you need to include the last name of the inventor and the year of publication in parentheses after the reference in the text.

The full citation details are then listed in the reference list at the end of your work.

The general format for citing a patent in APA style is:

Inventor’s last name, Initials. (Year). Title of patent: Patent number. Patent office. URL

For example:

Smith, J., & Jones, M. (2010). Solar-powered car: U.S. Patent No. 7,654,321. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. [1]

If you are citing an online source, such as a patent database or a website, you need to include the URL of the source at the end of the citation.

If you are citing a print source, such as a book or a journal article, you do not need to include the URL.

Some tips for citing patents in APA style are:

  • Use an ampersand (&) between the last names of multiple inventors.
  • Capitalize only the first word and proper nouns in the title of the patent.
  • Include the patent number after the title and separate it with a colon.
  • Include the name of the patent office that issued the patent.
  • If there is no inventor name available, use the name of the assignee (the person or organization that owns the patent) instead.

MLA Style

MLA (Modern Language Association) style is another popular citation style used in the humanities and liberal arts.

It follows the author-page system, which means that you need to include the last name of the inventor and the page number (if available) in parentheses after the reference in the text.

The full citation details are then listed in the works cited list at the end of your work.

The general format for citing a patent in MLA style is:

Inventor’s last name, First name. “Title of Patent.” Patent number, Date of issue.

For example:

Smith, John, and Mary Jones. “Solar-Powered Car.” U.S. Patent 7,654,321, 25 Jan. 2010.

If you are citing an online source, such as a patent database or a website, you need to include the URL or DOI (digital object identifier) of the source at the end of the citation.

You also need to include an access date if the source does not have a publication date.

For example:

Smith, John, and Mary Jones. “Solar-Powered Car.” U.S. Patent 7,654,321A, 25 Jan. 2010. Google Patents, [2]. Accessed 15 Aug. 2023.

Some tips for citing patents in MLA style are:

  • Use “and” between the names of multiple inventors.
  • Capitalize all major words in the title of the patent.
  • Include both letters and numbers in the patent number.
  • Use abbreviations for months with four or more letters.

Chicago Style

Chicago style is another common citation style used in various disciplines and fields.

It has two main systems: notes and bibliography (NB) and author-date.

The NB system uses footnotes or endnotes to cite sources in the text and a bibliography to list them at the end of your work.

The author-date system uses parenthetical citations in the text and a reference list at the end of your work.

The general format for citing a patent in Chicago NB style is:

Inventor’s first name Last name, “Title of Patent,” Patent number, Date of issue.

For example:

John Smith and Mary Jones, “Solar-Powered Car,” U.S. Patent 7,654,321, January 25, 2010.

If you are citing an online source, such as a patent database or a website, you need to include the URL or DOI of the source at the end of the citation.

You also need to include an access date if the source does not have a publication date.

For example:

John Smith and Mary Jones, “Solar-Powered Car,” U.S. Patent 7,654,321, January 25, 2010, [3] (accessed August 15, 2023).

The general format for citing a patent in Chicago author-date style is:

Inventor’s last name, First name. Year. “Title of Patent.” Patent number. Patent office. URL or DOI.

For example:

Smith, John, and Mary Jones. 2010. “Solar-Powered Car.” U.S. Patent 7,654,321. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. [4]

Some tips for citing patents in Chicago style are:

  • Use a comma between the names of multiple inventors.
  • Use quotation marks around the title of the patent.
  • Use a period after the patent number.
  • Use the full name of the patent office that issued the patent.
  • Use a colon before the URL or DOI.

IEEE Style

IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) style is a citation style used in engineering and technical fields.

It uses numbers in brackets to cite sources in the text and a reference list to list them at the end of your work.

The general format for citing a patent in IEEE style is:

[Number] Inventor’s initials and last name, “Title of patent,” Patent office Abbrev. Patent number, Date of issue.

For example:

[1] J. Smith and M. Jones, “Solar-powered car,” U.S. Patent 7,654,321, Jan. 25, 2010.

If you are citing an online source, such as a patent database or a website, you need to include the URL or DOI of the source at the end of the citation.

For example:

[2] J. Smith and M. Jones, “Solar-powered car,” U.S. Patent 7,654,321A, Jan. 25, 2010. [Online]. Available: [5]

Some tips for citing patents in IEEE style are:

  • Use brackets to indicate the citation number in the text and the reference list.
  • Use only initials and last names for inventors.
  • Use quotation marks around the title of the patent.
  • Use abbreviations for patent offices and months.
  • Use a comma before the URL or DOI.

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