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APA Style Guide, 7th Edition: Patents & Laws

The most current edition of APA style guide

Formatting Your References

Once you type your references on the reference page, you will need to put in a hanging indent and double-space the entire reference list. In Microsoft Word, highlight the references from A to Z, then find the paragraph function in the Word ribbon. Select Hanging under Indentation and Double under spacing. See the Formatting your References tab for instructions on doing this on a Mac or in Google Docs.


Abbas, D. D. F. (2020). Manipulating of audio-visual aids in the educational processes in Al-Hilla University College. International Journal of Psychosocial Rehabilitation, 24(3), 1248-1263.

The citation above may not indicate a hanging indent depending on the device you are using to view it.  The second and all subsequent lines of APA formatted references use a hanging indent.

Material Type           In-text Citation              Reference                                                        
U.S. Constitution  The United States Constitution governs the rights and responsibilities of all U.S. citizens. 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 (see below).
U.S. Constitution  

See the official APA Style Blog about citing the U.S. Constitution here: or consult the current edition of The Bluebook: A Uniform System of Citation.

U.S. patent

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

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

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

Court decision

(US v. Madoff, 2009).

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

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

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.

State statute

(Fair Housing Act, 2011).

Statute name and year.

Fair Housing Act, 2011 Fla. Statutes §§ 760-760.20-760.37 (2011).

Statute name, year of source, source, sections, and year of statute.

Legal Citation Resources

Legal Information Institute at the Cornell School of Law. Choose an option on the left side of the page to find the abbreviation you need. Includes state, journal, court, and case name abbreviations.