What are Patents?
A patent is a grant of a property right to an inventor that is issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The rights included in a patent cover the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, or importing an invention, although this right is the responsibility of the patentee. For more information, see the USPTO's information on patent basics, which you can find here. Finding patents is a useful skill for both needing to patent your own work and for seeing what sort of inventions have been patented by others.
How do you find patents?
All patents are available through the USPTO, and there are several other tools available to finding patents. Regardless of the tool you use, finding patents is a long process.