U.S. Patent Search

A patent gives an inventor the right to exclude others from making, using, selling or importing his invention. An invention can be patented based upon its useful features (a utility patent) or its appearance (a design patent). The links below are patent searches you can run on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office web site. They are not a substitute for a thorough patent search provided by intellectual property counsel, but they are a good starting point if you have an invention you believe may be patentable.

Search U.S. Patents (USPTO)
On the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (“USPTO”) website you can search for patents from 1790 through today.  This resource is a great starting point if you are searching for patents that may be similar to an invention that you would like to patent.

Search U.S. Patents (Google)
In addition to the USPTO’s website, Google also offers a search tool to find patents online.  Google indexes all patents and published patent applications on their own platform.  This is useful for analyzing patents because you are able to highlight and search for text within the page rather than searching through flattened pdf’s that the USPTO provides.

How to Search U.S. Patents at the USPTO (video) Even though the USPTO is the best place to search for patents, there is a little bit of a learning curve to figure out how to work their system.  This video is a good starting point that shows you how to search for patents online via the USPTO’s system.

Patent Term Calculator
This free excel template helps you calculate your patent term.  This is useful in determining how long you will have protection based upon various factors such as your filing date, claims of priority, and patent term adjustments.

Search Published U.S. Patent Applications
Just like the resource for searching granted patents on the USPTO’s website, this resource gives you the ability to search for published patent applications on the USPTO’s website.  The USPTO separates these searches into two different databases for public searching purposes.  It is important to look for prior art on both websites.

Search Patexia.com for Patents, Publication and Patent Litigation
Patexia.com gives you the ability to search for patents and offers interesting statistics about patent filings at the same time.

PAIR – Patent Application Information Retrieval System on Particular Patents
Pubic Pair is the USPTO’s database of published patent applications and granted patents.  This site differs from the Patent and Application Full Text and Image Database because it is intended to help you search for a specific patent or application.  When you look up a patent or application on Public Pair, you can see prosecution history, assignments, attorney of record, and other detailed information.

Patent Trial and Appeal Board End to End (PTAB E2E) System
This resource gives you the ability to search for information relating to the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“PTAB”) Electronic Filings.  You can search the PTAB records for a specific AIA Review Number, Patent Number, Application Number, Party Name, or Tech Center.

Get Copies of U.S. Patents
This resource allows you to search for specific patents and directly download the .pdf  file for the published version of that patent.

Search Patent Assignment Records
This is a resource by the USPTO that allows you to look up assignment records of U.S. patents.  The information on this resource is more detailed than the assignment information listed on Public Pair.

Check Maintenance Fee Status of U.S. Patent
This resource by the USPTO allows you to determine whether maintenance fees have been paid on any given published patent or check to see if there is an upcoming due date to pay maintenance fees.  Maintenance fees are required to be paid at the 3.5, 7.5, and 11.5 year mark to retain the right to enforce a patent.  With that said, if you forget to pay a maintenance fee you can file a petition to reinstate the patent with an additional fee.

Peer to Patent
This resource is a system that allows the public to provide the USPTO with information relevant to evaluating pending patent applications. This project allows community input to the legal decision-making process.

Lens.org-An Open Resource for Innovation Cartography 
This resource is another website that allows you to search for patents and publications.  This resource allows you to search worldwide from one website rather than jumping to various country specific websites.

USPTO Global Dossier–International Patent References for Patents or Published Patent Applications:
Online access to the file histories of related applications from participating IP Offices, which currently include the U.S., Korean, European, Chinese and Japanese Patent Offices. By using this service, users can see the patent family for a specific application, containing all related applications filed at participating IP Offices, along with the dossier, classification, and citation data for these applications. This service also provides Office Action Indicators to help users identify applications that contain office actions.”

Freepatentsonline.com — additional search tool for finding patents and patent information and downloading patent documents.