What is a Patent?
Patents are government grants that give inventors exclusive rights to their inventions.
Patents are vital resources for businesses, researchers, inventors, academics, and others who need to keep abreast of developments in their fields.
Patents are also an important means of sharing know-how, because each patent document describes a new aspect of a technology in clear and specific terms and is available for anyone to consult.
Google Patent Search
This searches the USPTO.
Other Sources of Patent Information
For the Beginning Searcher
Searching for patents on specific devices, processes, or inventions can be complex. If you are looking for a specific patent you can search by patent number or inventor’s name. However, if you are exploring what patents exist in certain areas you can search by keyword or browse the classification indexes:
Patent Offices of the World
Search espacenet for European, U.S., and worldwide patents.
- Often considered the best place to start a patent search
- The European Classification System (ECLA) is used by the EPO for classifying patents
- Publication coverage: 1836 - present
- U.S. patents from 1790 to present, applications 2001 to present. Patents issued from 1790 through 1975 are searchable only by patent number, issue date, and current U.S. classifications
- The older U.S. patents are presented as TIFF image files. (You can install a free TIFF reader that is designed in part for reading U.S. patent office files)
- The USPTO classifies patents under the U.S. Patent Classification System (USPC)
- Anatomy of a U.S. Patent Document
The Canadian Patents Database contains patent documents from 1869 to the present (full-text documents, 1920 to present.)
- Note that the text of the abstracts and claims sections is not available for patents that were granted prior to August 15, 1978. These patents can only be searched by their patent number, titles, owner or inventor names, or classification.
- Patent documents filed prior to October 1, 1989, are classified according to the Canadian Patent Classification (CPC) system. Patent documents filed on or after October 1, 1989, are classified according to the International Patent Classification (IPC) system.
- Anatomy of a Canadian Patent Document
Search the Patent Abstracts of Japan (PAJ) database
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