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Intellectual property: documentation

Our intellectual property (IP) collection is one of the best in the world. It comprises patent specifications, official gazettes and journals covering patents, trade marks and designs, name and subject indexes and many other sources.

We have been collecting since the 1850s and in many cases our collections date back to the period when individual authorities first began to publish IP documentation.

The collection can be consulted in our Business & IP Centre. Some of the collection is held on open access in the Centre but most is held in our storage areas either in London or at Boston Spa.

Please contact our IP information specialists to ensure that any items you want to consult are readily available, and check our admission procedures before making a visit.

You can look at detailed lists of the IP documentation we hold, and find links to official websites and their major online databases, from the following authorities:

We also have a smaller range of documentation from many other countries, with particularly strong holdings of IP documentation from individual British colonies during the imperial period. Please contact us for further details.

Much of our intellectual property material from non-English-speaking countries was only published in the local language and not in English. We apologise, but we cannot provide any translation services for material not in English.

Please note that patent documents from a very wide range of countries and historical periods are available free online with varying levels of search functionality via the Espacenet database, provided by the European Patent Office.