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Intellectual Property Research Guide: IP Applications/Registrations

The Intellectual Property Research Guide covers resources for researching patent, trademark, copyright, trade secret, right of publicity, and other areas of intellectual property law.

About Databases-IP Applications/Registrations

This page covers databases for searching registered and pending patents and trademarks, registered copyrights, and domain names.

IP Applications/Registrations-Copyright

IP Applications/Registrations-Patent

Below is a chart comparing free patent search databases.  This chart is intended as a general guide.  Coverage and other data may change so you should review the information from the database provider.  There is further information about free and licensed patent search databases beneath the chart.

Comparison of Free Patent Search Databases, March, 2019

Features

USPTO

Google Patents

Free Patents Online

Patent Lens

URL

www.uspto.gov

https://patents.google.com/
advanced

www.freepatentsonline.com

www.lens.org

Coverage

U.S.:

issued patents 1790-1975; patent applications from 2001

22 countries or regions have full text coverage; some data on other countries, see “Around the World,” https://patents.google.com/. It gives start date of coverage, not end date

U.S.: same as USPTO;

Europe, Japan (abstracts), WIPO, Germany (beta): see coverage details on website

Numerous jurisdictions, including U.S., China, Japan, Europe, WIPO; coverage dates unclear for most

PDF

Yes

Yes, but not consistently

Yes

Yes, but not consistently

Full text

searching

Yes, but not for issued patents from 1790-1975, which are only searchable by issue date, patent number, and current U.S. classification

Yes, but breadth of coverage for each country or region is unknown

Yes.  For U.S. patents, full text is more complete than USPTO, but still not totally complete for patents prior to 1976 and some after 1976

Yes, but not for all, e.g. full text searching only for US patents 1976 and after

Field searching

55 fields

10 fields

43 fields

33 fields

Search

operators

AND, OR, ANDNOT, “” for phrase, $ for unlimited wildcard

AND, OR, NOT, “” for phrase, * for unlimited wildcard, ? for single character wildcard, NEARx for proximity any order, ADJx for proximity in same order, WITH for 20 words away, SAME for 200 words away

AND, OR, NOT, “” for phrase, word stemming of whole words to root, * for unlimited wildcard,? for single character wildcard, ~n for proximity, ^ for ranking,

AND, OR, AND NOT, “” for phrase, * for unlimited wildcard and? for single character wildcard, ~ n for proximity, word stemming of whole words to root

Help page

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Patent family

Yes, for IP5 (US, EU, Japan, China, North Korea); check the Global Dossier for access to patent families and docket files

 Yes, see “Worldwide Applications”; unclear if all included

No

Yes

Articles search

No

Yes

No

Yes (beta)

Pros/cons
and Best for

Con: only U.S. patents; have to search issued patents and applications separately

Pro: useful fields and operators; access to file history for USPTO and IP5 at same website

Best for: access to file history at USPTO and for IP5 countries through Global Dossier

 

Con: dates of country coverage unclear; full text search coverage unclear; limited fields; some fields hard to find; vague number of hits

Pro: searches granted patents/apps simultaneously, other countries/regions, prior art search with articles; easy interface; nice display of patent

Best for: simple searches not requiring an answer to “how many,” and prior art search

Con: ads in result list; full text search better than USPTO, but not totally clear

Pro: searches granted patents/apps. Simultaneously and some non-U.S. jurisdictions;  greater full text searching than USPTO; useful fields and operators; extensive help page, although a bit cumbersome

Best for: searching USPTO and covered jurisdictions; field searching

Con: dates of country coverage unclear; full text search coverage unclear

Pro: searches granted patents/apps simultaneously, numerous non-U.S. jurisdictions, articles; useful fields and operators; searches for patent families

Best for: searching non-U.S. jurisdictions; searching patent families; nice interface

 

IP Applications/Registrations-Trademark

IP Applications/Registrations-Domain Names

Information about the owner of a domain name is in the Whois data from the Registrar of that domain name.  The Whois information is generally limited to contact information, if it is available at all.  There is no single database for searching all the registered domain names.  You can find some information at the following databases, by going to the Registrar's website and checking its Whois database, or searching through commercial vendors (such as Thomson).