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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, 2017



Google Patents

Free Patents Online

Patent Lens


advanced_patent_search  OR

advanced (newer version)



issued patents 1790-1975; patent applications from 2001

1. 6 countries or regions

2. 17 countries or regions-But, exact coverage by country not clear

U.S.: same as USPTO;

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

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





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 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 prior to 1976

Field searching

55 fields

10 fields

43 + fields

24 fields

Search operators

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

1. AND, OR, “” for phrase

2. AND, OR, NOT, “” for phrase, * for unlimited wildcard, ? for single character wildcard, NEARx for proximity any order, ADJx for proximity in same order

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

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

Help page


1. No     2. Yes


Yes, under “Support”

Patent family





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 at same website

Best for: access to file history


Con: 1. no wildcard or truncation, no search help;

1 and 2. limited fields; number of hits in result list is unclear

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

Best for: prior art search

Con: ads in result list; full text search coverage unclear

Pro: searches granted patents/apps. simultaneously; searches 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

Con: coverage unclear; full text search coverage unclear

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

Best for: searching non-U.S. jurisdictions; searching patent families; graphic tables and charts

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).