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Patents: Citing Patents

Citing Patents


When writing an article or research paper, citing a patent or a patent application varies depending on the style manual used. It is important to check with your instructor, editor or publisher to know which citation format to use.

The minimum data required for an acceptable citation are the name(s) of the patent owner(s), the patent number, and the date. Ensure that the patent stage (Patent, Patent Application, etc.) is indicated and that the pattern of the number (e.g., spaces, commas, dashes) follows that of the original patent document.

Examples of how to cite U.S. Patent 3,597,875 using seven different style manuals:

ACS Guide to Scholarly Communication

Find more information in section: 4.3.5.5. Patents


Inventor names are listed in inverted form with periods and spaces:
Surname, First Initial. Middle Initial., qualifier if applicable.
Section 4.3.4.1 Authorship for more information.

General Format:
Inventor1; Inventor2; …; Inventor 10; et al. Title of patent. Patent or application number (preceded by the country code and followed by the kind code), document publication year.

Example:
Christiansen, G. K. Toy Building Set. US 3597875, 1971.

AMA Manual of Style

Find more information in section: 3.13.7 Patents


Inventor names are listed in inverted form without periods and without spaces:
Surname, First Initial Middle Initial
Section 3.7 Authors for more information.

General Format:
Inventor1, Inventor2, et al, inventors; Name of Assignee, assignee. Title of Patent. patent number (include country code, the word "patent", and number with retain commas). Date of publication.

Example:
Christiansen, GK, inventor; Interlego A.G., assignee. Toy Building Set. US patent 3,597,875. August 10, 1971.

APA Publication Manual

Find more information in section: 11.8 Patents


Inventor names are listed in inverted form with periods and spaces with an ampersand before final author's name.
Surname, First Initial. Middle Initial., qualifier if applicable.
Section 9.8 Format of the Author Element for more information

General Format:
Inventor1, Inventor2, et al. (Year Patent Issued). Title of patent (U.S. Patent No. (number retains commas)) U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. URL

Example:
Christiansen, G. K. (1971). Toy Building Set (U.S. Patent No. 3,597,875). U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. https://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITOFF&d=PALL&p=1&u=%2Fnetahtml%2FPTO%2Fsrchnum.htm&r=1&f=G&l=50&s1=3597875.PN.&OS=PN/3597875&RS=PN/3597875

Chicago Manual of Style

Find more information in sections: 14.258 and 15.55 


Inventors’ names are given as they appear in the source itself. If more than one inventor - order is “Inventor1 Last Name, Inventor1 First name and Inventor 2 First Name Inventor 2 Last Name”
Sections 14.73 Form of author’s name and 15.12 Authors’ names in reference list entries for more information.

Author-Date References

General Format:
Inventor1, Inventor2, et al. Year of publication (format YYYY). Patent Title. Patent number (include country code, the word “Patent”, and patent number with retained commas), date of filing (format Month Date, Year), and issued date of publication (format Month Date, Year).

Example:
Christiansen, Godtfred Kirk. 1971. Toy Building Set. US Patent 3,597,875, filed November 18, 1968, and issued August 10, 1971.

Notes and Bibliography

General Format:
Inventor1, Inventor2, et al. Title of patent. Patent number (include country code, the word “Patent”, and patent number with retained commas), date of filing (format Month Date, Year), and issued date of publication (format Month Date, Year).

Example:
Christiansen, Godtfred Kirk. Toy Building Set. US Patent 3,597,875, filed November 18, 1968, and issued August 10, 1971.

 

Scientific Style and Format: The CSE Manual

Find more information in section: 29.3.7.7 Patents


Inventor names are listed in inverted form without periods and without spaces:
Surname, First Initial Middle Initial
Section 29.3.7.7.1 Authors (Inventors and Assignees) of Patents for more information.

Citation–sequence and citation–name:

General Format:
Author(s), inventors; patent holder, assignee. Title of patent. Country issuing the patent country code patent number (retain commas). Publication date (format YYYY MMM DD). Extent.

Example:
Christiansen, GK, inventor; Interlego A.G., assignee. Toy Building Set. US 3,597,875. 1971 Aug 10.

Name–year:

General Format:
Author(s), inventors; Patent holder, assignee. Date (format YYYY MMM DD). Title of patent. Country issuing the patent country code patent number (retain commas). Extent.

Example:
Christiansen, GK, inventor; Interlego A.G., assignee. 1971 Aug 10. Toy Building Set. US 3,597,875.

 

IEEE Guide to Writing in the Engineering & Technical Fields

Find more information in section: Appendix: IEEE Styles for References 


Inventor Names are listed in order with periods and spaces for first and middle names.
First Initial. Middle Initial. Surname.
Appendix: IEEE Style for References for more information

General Format:
Inventor1, Inventor2, et al., “Title of patent,” U.S. Patent number (number does not retain commas but keeps spacing), Publication date (Mon. DD, YYYY).

Example:
G. K. Christiansen, “Toy Building Set,” U.S. Patent 3 597 875, Aug. 10, 1971.

MLA Handbook 9th Ed.

The MLA Handbook does not specifically reference Patents.


Inventor names are listed in inverted order with full first name and middle initial
Surname, First Name Middle Initial.
Chapter 5.5 Author: How to Style It of MLA Handbook 9th Edition for more information

Using the MLA Format Template it can be constructed as:
Inventor. Title of patent. Patent number, Issuing agency, Issued Date (format DD Month YYYY).

Example:
Christiansen, Godtfred K. US 3,597,875, United Stats Patent and Trademark Office, 10 August 1971.

More Information