Introduction to Google Patents

Google Patents Search ( is a free online patent search tool that inventors, entrepreneurs and businesses can use.  Google Patents is currently in beta stage, however it can provide a very useful supplementary online patent search.  Google Patent Search uses its Google Book Search technology to recognize the text in U.S. patent documents making them easy to search.

Patent Documents Searched with Google Patents

Google Patents allows you to search for the following types of patent documents online:

  • Granted U.S. Patents
  • U.S. Published Patent Applications

The patent data available through Google Patent Search is from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO).  Google specifies on its website that the patent data includes patents issued from the 1790s through those recently issued in the past few months (i.e. you may not be searching the most recently issued patents).

Patent Documents Not Searched with Google Patents

Google Patents does not search the following types of patent documents:

  • International Patents
  • International Published Patent Applications
  • Recently Granted U.S. Patents*
  • Recently Published U.S. Patent Applications*

*  Google Patents appears to update its database every other month so the data sometimes can be behind the USPTO data by a couple of months or so.  You should always check for the latest U.S. patents and published patent applications at the USPTO.

If you need to search for the most recently granted U.S. patent documents available from the USPTO, consider using PatentHunter which is a commercial patent search tool created by Michael Neustel.

Google Patents v. USPTO Patent Search

While Google Patents provides an easy to use search interface for searching United States patents and published patent applications, Google Patents sometimes does not appear to always be updated with the latest patent documents (i.e. you sometimes cannot access the latest granted patents or published patent applications).  Hence, the advantage of the USPTO patent search is that you will have the most current data offered by the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.  However, Google Patents should not be overlooked since it does provide a very good search interface for beginners and can be used as a supplement to the USPTO patent search.

Advantages of Google Patents

  • Easy to use patent search interface for beginners.
  • Convenient access to patent images in PDF format.
  • See important keywords directly in the PDF patent document.
  • Fast search engine and fast downloads of PDF patent documents.

Disadvantages of Google Patents

  • No international patents.
  • Sometimes does not include the most recent U.S. patents or published patent applications.
  • Some words in patent documents are not OCR’d correctly.