Patent Number Search

A “patent number search” simply involves searching for a specific patent number.  Unlike a regular U.S. patent search, a patent number search searches for a single patent by its corresponding number.  You have to first know what the patent number is which is typically conspicuously placed on a commercial product or its packaging.  For a utility patent, a patent number typically will be in the millions (e.g. 6,434,333).  For a design patent, a patent number typically will be in the hundreds of thousands and will start with the letter “D” or the letters “Des.” (e.g. D339,332 or Des. 339,332). After you have identified the patent number you want to search for, you then need to access an online patent database where you can enter the patent number.  There are two very good online databases to search for patent numbers:
  • USPTO Patent Number Search.  Enter the patent number you would like to access.  Requires a TIFF file viewer to view the patent images.
    • Commercial Product Suggestion.  Consider using the 60 day trial version of PatentHunter to find and download the specific patent number you are searching for (PatentHunter is a product created by Michael Neustel).
  • Google Patents.  Enter a patent number and you will be able to access the PDF version of the patent.

Patent Application Number Search

A “patent application number search” is similar to a patent number search except you are searching for a published patent applications (many patent applications are not published and cannot be searched).  When performing a patent application number search, you will need to know the publication number (e.g. 20010000044).  The first four numbers of the publication number represent the year the patent application was published.  Publication numbers are often times not placed on a product so you may have to perform a search for the publication number or ask the owner of the pending patent application for the publication number prior to searching for the published patent application. To search for a specific publication number, you can search at:
  • USPTO Publication Number Search.  Enter the publication number of the patent application you would like to access.
  • Google Patents.  Enter a publication number and you will be able to access the PDF version of the published application. Some recent published applications may not be available on Google Patents.