Below are some common types of patent searches. If your question is similar to any of the below, click and see more informaiton on how to conduct your search:
- I am an inventor doing a patentability search
- I have a patent number / numbers and want to get the patent image
- I am looking for a specific patent or patents obtained by a person or company
- I need to look up a patent issued before 1976
- I want to do some quick searching for recent patents that are international in scope
- All patents ever issued are in the USPTO web database.
- Only patents issued from 1976- now are searchable in full text.
- The only way to search online for patents issued before 1976 is either by patent number, or by Classification Code.
- To see the full patent image rather than just the text, you must have a TIFF viewer installed on your computer. The USPTO lists several free products on its web site and links to the web sites where you can download the software.
- Another option is to first identify the patent numbers of interest at the USPTO databases, and then use Google Patents to download PDF versions of the full text and images.
Keep in Mind:
- Patent searching varies in complexity, based on your particular needs. If you are searching for a "known" patent, for example, you have a patent number already, or you are looking for something your grandfather invented, or you want a list of everything Ocean Spray has ever invented, you can do this relatively easy on the USPTO web site. If, however, you are an inventor, looking to see if anyone has claims to a similar patent, you can expect hours of searching.
- Patent searching often involves searching creatively. For example, if you invent a new exercise chair, you might want to search under exercise and exercise accessories, and also search chairs. Start brainstorming concepts before you search, thinking about both the functions and the components of your invention.
- If you are just getting started, you may be interested in taking a look at this video presentation from the Inventor Assistance Program. It provides a quick introduction to protecting your concept: