APA Patent Citation – A Comprehensive Guide

24.05.23 Other examples Time to read: 3min

How do you like this article?

0 Reviews


It is essential in academic writing to cite sources accurately, as it helps prevent plagiarism and ensures credibility and transparency for readers. On top of this, it is crucial for readers to be able to access the original sources. The American Psychological Association (APA) offers robust citation guidelines for various types of sources. This article aims to provide a comprehensive approach to citing patents in APA style.

In a nutshell: APA patent citation

  • The APA Patent citation follows clear guidelines for citing correctly.
  • Proper citation allows readers to trace the original source of information.
  • To create a complete patent citation, you need to include the name of the inventor, the patent number, the title of the patent, the country where it was issued, and the year of issuance.
  • The format for reference entries and in-text citations differ, as presented in the examples in this article.

You can see an overview of all our APA examples on this page.

Definition: APA patent citation

A patent citation in APA style refers to the correct acknowledgment of patents used as sources of information in a research paper or article. The format is in accordance with the guidelines provided by the APA. It encompasses all essential information such as the inventor’s name, patent number, the patent’s title, the issuing country, and the year of issue.

Format and examples of APA patent citation

The subsequent sections will illustrate the format for both reference entries and in-text citations of APA patent citations. Additionally, illustrative examples will be provided to enhance comprehension.

Format of a reference entry

Inventor(s). (Year). Patent title (Patent number). Issuing Organization.


Smith, J. (2019). New method for desalination (U.S. Patent No. 10,123,456). U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Format of an in-text citation

The in-text citation format of an APA patent citation is a simplified version, typically containing only the necessary details to allow the reader to find the full citation in the reference list. The format typically includes the inventor’s last name and the year of patent issuance.


There are two types of in-text citation formats:

  1. Narrative citation: As described by Smith (2019), the new method for desalination…
  2. Parenthetical citation: The new method for desalination (Smith, 2019)…
Ensure your final paper is plagiarism-free
Failure to correctly cite original sources could lead to grades being deducted. Save yourself from this by running your paper through our online plagiarism checker tailored for Filipino students. In just 10 minutes, gain confidence in your submission!


When a patent has multiple inventors, adhere to the same order as presented on the patent for the citation. The primary inventor is cited with their surname first, followed by their initials. Subsequent inventors are cited with their initials preceding their surnames. Inventors should be separated by commas and introduced with an ampersand (&) before the final inventor’s name.


Smith, J. B., & Brown, K. L. (2019). New method for desalination (U.S. Patent No. 10,123,456). U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

For a pending patent, you would follow the same format, but instead of the patent number, you would use the term “patent pending.” The date you use should be the date the patent application was filed.


Smith, J. B. (2023). New method for desalination (Patent pending). U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

The APA patent citation of a foreign patent is similar to a U.S. patent, but you should include the country in the citation where the patent has been filed. The abbreviation for the country code should be used in place of “U.S.” before the patent number.


Smith, J. B. (2019). New method for desalination (JP Patent No. 123456). Japan Patent Office.