Legal issues relating to patent searching in publicly accessible libraries

Kevin Harwell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


The purpose of this article is to discuss responsible library service when using patent search resources in light of the unauthorized practice of law. This issue is significant, but also very unsettled. Because patents document legal rights, libraries that provide patent search services should be cautious when assisting the public, much as libraries that provide assistance with legal resources should be. Activities that could be construed as the unauthorized practice of law are examined closely and distinguished from good information services practices. Recommendations for library policies and practices are outlined. Selected aspects of patent law, relevant to information needs of patent search patrons, are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-46
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Government Information
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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