Getting started with intellectual property law research can be hard. Intellectual property--broadly defined as creations of the mind that come in the form of creative works, inventions or marks--is protected by a collection of overlapping legal regimes that includes Patent, Copyright, and Trademark. This guide focuses primarily on US law, with an additional page for international materials. It's intended to give a very basic introduction to research in this area, covering how to find the law and how to find documentation about IP assets through registration records and similar tools.
Fig 1., U.S. Patent #6,125,478
This guide highlights some of the best and most frequently used IP-resources available to the UNC Law community. It does not provide an exhaustive review of UNC Law's IP collection.
Many of the sources cited in this guide are freely available to anyone, online. Many others require UNC or UNC Law affiliation, sometimes in combination with a separate username and password for access to databases such as Westlaw, Lexis+, and Bloomberg Law. If you are a UNC Law faculty, student, or staff and do not have access to these databases, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are also a number of databases that address intellectual property issues generally. Some of the most useful include: