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Referencing Guide: Patents & Laws

APA Referencing and style guide


If making a passing reference to the U.S. Constitution in-text, you do not need to cite it in your reference list (see example on left). If you are using specifics to support or defend your argument then cite it as stated in The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation.

U.S. Patent

Give the date the patent was issued rather than the application date.


Fitzpatrick, B. G. (2010). U.S. Patent No. 7,860,344. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

In-text Citation

(U.S. Patent No. 7,860,344, 2010).

Court decisions

Give case name, volume of source, source name, page number; in parenthesis give the court and state abbreviation followed by year. Follow the Bluebook for abbreviations.


US v. Madoff, 586 F. Supp. 243 (S.D.N.Y. 2009).

In-text Citation

(US v. Madoff, 2009).

Give as many dates as is given in the decision. The name of the case is in italics.



What is a patent?

A patent is an exclusive right granted for an invention, which is a product or a process that provides, in general, a new way of doing something, or offers a new technical solution to a problem. To get a patent, technical information about the invention must be disclosed to the public in a patent application