Starting your patent search
The most up-to-date patent search source on the internet is the
This is the recommended source for starting your patent search. It is updated once a week on Tuesdays, as the U.S. government issues patents on this schedule.
PROS: most complete and up-to-date source
CONS: documents are served as TIFF images; issued patents and patent applications must be searched separately
Downloading patent documents
Once you have identified patents in the USPTO database, note the patent number. For example:
The most convenient way to get the patent document as a PDF is to search
PROS: provides familiar search interface; provides patent documents as PDFs
CONS: not as up-to-date as the USPTO database
Other sources to try
If you are unable to find your patent document in Google Patents or the USPTO, here are some other options to try.
Search patent databases
Listed below are the most useful databases for patent research
Researching patents by topic
Researching how many patents have been issued on a particular technology can be tricky business. Keyword searching can be very imprecise, as you are likely to find many patents that merely mention the name of that technology somewhere in the text.
To discover how many patents have been issued on a particular technology, it is best to use the
PROS: fine-grained classification by subject means you can be sure you are finding patents on a particular technology
CONS: difficult to use index; we suggest you consult with a librarian for assistance with this type of search
Obtaining hard copies of patents
How do you obtain a patent that is not available on the internet? What if the quality of the technical drawings is not adequate on the electronic version? If you are located in the Rochester area, you can visit our official local patent resource center:
In addition to public resources on researching and filing patents, the Carlson Patent and Trademark Center collects all U.S. patent documents.
If you are not located in the Rochester area, please consult the USPTO web site for the location of the nearest patent and trademark resource center.
Patent Searching Tutorials
How to Conduct a Preliminary Patent Search: a Step By Step Strategy (From the US Patent & Trademark Office)
GCCIS Librarian Profile