What Is Google Patent Search?

Working on string theory
Dina Belenko Photography / Getty Images

Definition: Google Patent Search is a search engine that lets you search patents from the  United States Patent and Trademark Office and those of other countries. You can find Google Patents on the web at patents.google.com  

Scope of Available Patents in Google Patent Search

Originally Google Patent Search contained data from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, which are public domain (the filing and information about the patent is in the public domain, that is).

As the specialized search engine grew, Google has added data from other countries, making it a useful international patent search. 

Google Patent Search currently shows patents from Japan, Canada, the United States, Germany, and   China. Google Patent Search also includes "WO" patents, also known as World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). WIPO patents are international patents covering multiple countries by United Nations treaty. You can read more about WIPO patents and search the available WIPO database directly. Searching the WIPO database directly is also a great way to see why Google Patent Search is so useful. 

Basic Information Available from Google Patent Search

Google lets you view a summary of the patent claims or the entire image itself. Users can also download a PDF of the patent or search for prior art. 

Basic information in a Google Patent Search includes:

  • The legal status of a patent
  • When the patent expires or expired
  • The application number
  • The owner (both the original and current)
  • The date the patent was granted
  • The citations within the patent 
  • The abstract (a short description of what the patent is claiming)
  • The full description of the patent
  • The specific claims made in the patent

Advanced Google Patent Search Options

In addition to basic patent searches, you can include Google Scholar information in a patent search for a more comprehensive search of both scholarly writing and patents.

 

If you need to search advanced options within Google Patent Search, such as finding only current patents, finding only patents from a specific inventor or company, or finding patents from specific countries, you can try Google Patent Search Advanced Options

The user interface is not as slick as a basic Google Patent Search, but you can use it to drill down for specific research (such as the sort an inventor would do when trying to file a patent claim, perhaps). 

Google Patent Alerts

This is a hack. Google Patent Search does not have a separate alert system as of this writing. Google Scholar is a separate search engine available for researchers to find scholarly works, mostly consisting of academic research. However, when using Google Scholar, you can also include patents in the results, just like you can include Google Scholar results when you search Google Patent Search. When you set up an alert in Google Scholar, you will also receive information on patents if they contain the keyword for your alert.