Patents Search: Introduction

Google Patents provides accessibility to information about patent information. This accessibility is important for informing decisions related to public policy, reviewing new patents and applications, promoting scientific innovations, and managing investments in developments of intellectual property on a corporate level.

A number of data sources provide information about patents, which means those involved in patent research will spend more of their time loading, managing, parsing, downloading, and syncing local databases. Oftentimes, these researchers spend more time managing databases than conducting any type of analysis. New sets of data provide companies and researchers with access to multiple sources in a single place, allowing for more time to be spent on analysis instead of preparing data.

When reviewing trends in historical innovation, many economists will look at patent filings as one of the indicators. Those searching on an enterprise level are often looking for a high-level overview of certain technologies to learn who already exists in the space, where and when they file, and other aggregate data. The process of patent examination involves a series of actions, going back and forth between the applicant and the reviewer at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

The USPTO records common codes:

  • Abandoned
  • Rejected
  • Granted

Within the dataset, over 341 million events at the USPTO are available for review and search.

If a government has a legal interest in or provides funding for the patent, this patent will include an interest disclosure statement as well. For substances and chemicals that become drugs, applications and patents tend to go through development at research institutions. Those patents are then commonly licensed to different companies to handle the manufacturing process. This is referred to as technology transfer. Researchers and individuals within a variety of industries receive support for their data and ideas from global patent offices.

Google Patents was launched in 2006 as a way to search through millions of granted patents. The search engine database includes patents from more than 12 different countries, including the United States. The search through Google Patents is free. Visit Google Patents to start searching for free. The search functionality within Google Patents includes technology used in Google Book Search, which improves text recognition in USPTO patent documents. The technology makes it easier to search through long and complex patent documents. 

When it first launched, Google Patents included data from the USPTO only. This information, including details about the patent and the filing, are in the public domain. As Google Patents has grown, it now includes data from additional countries. As a result, the site is useful for searching international patents.

Through Google Patents, you can search for documents from:

  • The United States
  • WIPO
  • Europe
  • The Netherlands
  • Russia
  • Luxembourg
  • Europe
  • Finland
  • Japan
  • Denmark
  • China
  • Belgium
  • South Korea
  • Spain
  • The United Kingdom
  • France
  • Canada

Additionally, you can search for specific types of patent documents through Google Patents:

According to the website, the patent data includes any patent issued since the 1790s up to the past few months. This means that any patents filed or approved in the last several months will not be searchable. World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) patents, also called WO patents, are also cataloged on Google Patents. These international patents cover multiple countries in accordance with a United Nations treaty. If you've ever used the WIPO database to perform a search, you'll know why Google Patents is such a useful tool.

Through Google Patents, you can view the summary of the claims of the patent or the full image of the patent. It's also easy to perform a prior art search or download the patent in PDF form. If you search for multiple words as a single keyword, the search functionality in Google Patents will break down the keywords as individual words.

In a search on Google Patents, you'll find:

  • Specific claims made.
  • The patent's legal status.
  • Full description.
  • Expiration date.
  • Abstract (a short description of patent claims).
  • Application number.
  • Patent citations.
  • Original and/or current patent owner.
  • Patent issue date.

Along with performing more basic searches, you can also use Google Scholar information when doing a search. This will include comprehensive information of scholarly patents and writing.

If you need help with Google Patents, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.