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Patent Search Resources

U.S. & U of Illinois Patents

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)

A freely searchable database of US patents from 1790-present.  Full text searches may be done from 1976 to the present; 1790–1975 is only searchable by patent numbers and current US Classifications.  Digital versions of the patents are available from 1790–present, search full-text 1976–present.
Search:  USPTO patents databases (1790-present)

Office of Technology Management at the University of Illinois (OMT)

The OTM maintains a free, searchable database of intellectual property generated by research activities at the University of Illinois.
Search:  OMT patents search

Non-U.S. Patents

esp@cenet

esp@cenet is Europe's network of patent databases. Its simple interface is available in most European languages and has been tailored for use by people who don't have a lot of patent searching experience. It contains over 60 million patent documents from all over the world. New from the European Patent Office, at last count this site searches patent information from nearly 100 countries (click on Global Patent Data Coverage), including the U.S., the U.K., India, Taiwan, China, South American and African countries, and more.
Search:  esp@cenet

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)

The WIPO search engine, Patentscope, enables you to do full-text search in over 1.6 million published international patent applications from the first publication in 1978.  At last count, the patents of 27 countries were available including patents from Canada, Australia, the European Patent Office, India, Japan, Latin America, People's Republic of China, the UK, the US, and more.  Free to search and display front page information, but fees are charged for the full-text.
Search:   Patentscope® search service (1978present, depending on the country)

Delphion Intellectual Property Network

Allows users to search the bibliographic and claims portions of patents files with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO), the Abstract of Japan, German patents, the European Patent Office.  The patent images, including figures, can be viewed for free. You can request a copy of the original patent for a fee.
Search:  Delphion patents search (1974–)

European Patent Office (EPO)

A freely searchable database of full-text for European patents.
Search: European patents database

Canadian Intellectual Property Office

A freely searchable database of full-text for Canadian patents.
Search: Canadian patents database (1869-)

The German Patent and Trade Mark Office

A freely searchable database of full-text for German patents.
Search: German patent search (1968-)

Japan Patent Office

A freely searchable database of full-text for Japanese patents.
Search: Japanese patents database (click Database Contents to see the detailed coverage)

Links to Other National Patent Offices

National Office Databases

This site, from the WIPO, lists the websites of the national patenting offices of over 25 countries, most of which maintain searchable databases.  Use this only if the WIPO or Delphion (above) search engines are not meeting your needs.

Global Patent Data Coverage

This site, from the European Patent Office, provides a list of patent offices from around the world; clicking on the country name will bring up a pdf with information about the country's patenting process and a link to their national patent office.

Other Intellectual Property Offices

This site, from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, provides links to the Intellectual Property Offices (Patent Offices) of countries worldwide.

Literature Databases with Patent Citations

For additional information, see the article, Patent Coverage in Scientific and Technical Research Databases, by Jan Comfort and Leena Lalwani (2007).

Among the literature databases that include citations to patents:

FSTA (Food Science & Technology Abstracts) -- patents related to food technology

CAB Abstracts -- selected patents appropriate to the subject areas of agriculture, forestry, biology, veterinary medicine, and more

SciFinder Web (online version of Chemical Abstracts) -Includes chemical patents from the United States back to 1790, patents covering biological sequences, and expanding access to foreign patents. It covers patents from 50 patenting authorities worldwide. Patents now make up 16% of records in Chemical Abstracts.

EiVillage -- Includes patents from the USPTO as well as the European Patent office. If desired, within EiVillage you may search separately (or together) Compendex, US Patents, and/or European Patents.

Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe -- Search U.S., European, and Japanese patents.  To get to the patents, click on the Legal tab, then Patents.

Scopus -- Includes patents from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), EPO, USPTO, and JPO