To find a list of patents by date, there are a number of searches you can use.

A patent number is the best option to search for patents. Since patent numbers can be found on produced goods, collectors can use this to access information on an antique object.

If you have the U.S. patent number, a full-text patent can be pulled up in Google Patent Search, the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office website, or the pat2pdf website. Most free patent search sites let you to use this information to obtain a PDF version. 

If the patent number isn't available, but the patent was issued after 1975, you can search using inventory or topic using Espacenet or Google Patent website. Patents issued between 1790 and 1975 can only be found through the USPTO search and require the patent number, U.S. classification, and issue date.

The Google Patent Advanced Search permits users to search by inventor, patent number, assignee, classification number, topic, and date. This applies to patents issued before 1975. These results can be refined using the “Search Tools,” which limits the search by publication date, issue date, filing status, patent type, and patent office.

To find a patent when you only know the assignee or patentee, you can search Espacenet or Google Patent by keywords. The Advanced Search in Google Patent allows you to search by fields.

If you don't have a particular patent to find, you can search by subject using Google Patent or Espacenet website by keyword or search the USPTO database using the 7-Step U.S. Patent Search Strategy. You can also search for a particular discipline and refine the search to only show patents.

Patents issued from 1976 to present are full-text searchable by keyword. This can be entered into the Quick Search or Advanced Search query box. You can also limit the keyword search to a specific field using both the Quick Search and Advanced Search.

Some fields that help you search for patents include:

  • Inventor name
  • Patent number
  • Description 
  • Specifications
  • Claims

Using the LexisNexis Academic Database

The LexisNexis Academic, a campus-wide research database, can be accessed through the Hesburgh Library and provides a variety of news, legal, business, and reference information. This covers patents from 1790 to present. Patent information prior to 1971 are in semi-full-text format and can only be searched by certain fields. Patents after 1971 are fully searchable and are in full-text. This information is available under the U.S. Legal heading.

To use LexisNexis Academic, you must create a keyword search that uses the purpose, use, and composition of an invention to find its proper classification. Then, you can use the keyword search to find patents and collect helpful classes and subclasses, which allow you to find more patents in LexisNexis Academic.

Searching by patent number, assignee, or inventory name is easy with LexisNexis Academic, since there are specified search boxes for each type of search.

To obtain a list of expired patents, you can use the U.S. Patent Full-Text Database Manual Search. You can search by the patent filing date or by the range since a patent lasts 20 years from the original date of filing.

Searching by Patent Classification

Here are the steps to searching by patent classification:

  1. Think of keywords that describe the purpose, use, and composition of an invention.
  2. Then search the index to the U.S. Patent Classification and choose “Index in HTML” format. This supports the linking to the next step.
  3. The index allows you to use common terms to find the classes and subclasses for an invention with an alphabetized list of subject headings.
  4. The next step is examining the Classification Schedule in the Manual of Classification, which can be found by clicking the blue 297 hyperlink.
  5. The Classification Schedule shows the several classes and subclasses within the system.
  6. This allows you to prove that the classes and subclasses in the index are relevant, which improves your search results.
  7. To move to the Classification Definitions, click the blue 195.13 hyperlink. This is useful if you're having trouble deciding between classes or subclasses, since there are definitions regarding the subject matter in each class. This also shows the distinctions between classes and subclasses and refers you to those that are related.
  8. A list of all patents issued and all applications are then found by clicking on the red icon to the left of the subclass number in the Manual of Classification for patents issued. The blue icon to the left of the icon is for pending applications. 

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