About Google Patents

At Google, we're constantly trying to make important collections of information more useful to the world. For the millions of ideas that have been submitted to either the United States or European patent offices, Google Patents lets you discover, search, and read them online. And with our Prior Art Finder, you can find documents related to a particular patent application or grant.

Frequently Asked Questions

Where does this patent data come from?

All documents available through Google Patents originate from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the European Patent Office (EPO), and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

What patents are available?

Google Patents covers the entire collection of granted patents and published patent applications from the USPTO, EPO, and WIPO. US patent documents date back to 1790, EPO and WIPO to 1978.

How do I use Google Patents?

You can search the full text of U.S. patents by selecting "Patents" from within Google search, from the search box at the top of any patent page, or by typing the grant or application number into Google as follows: US8000000 or US20090299573. You can also start from the Advanced Patents search page to search by criteria such as patent number, inventor, classification, and filing date.

What is the Prior Art Finder, and how does it work?

Typically, patents are granted only if the invention is new and not obvious. To explain why an invention is new, inventors will usually cite prior art such as earlier patent applications or journal articles. Determining novelty can be difficult, requiring a laborious search through many sources, and so we've built a Prior Art Finder that makes it easy to search multiple sources simultaneously for prior art. You can experiment with it by clicking on the "Find Prior Art" button from a patent's main page, or on the "Related" link in patent search results.

A Prior Art Finder tutorial is available here.

The Prior Art Finder identifies key phrases from EPO, WIPO, and post-1976 US patent documents, combines them into a search query, and displays the results from Google Patents, Google Scholar, Google Books, and the rest of the web. And as another way to explore those collections, the Finder's "People" tab lets you search by inventor.

The Prior Art Finder also lets you tune your search by date, using the filing date of the patent application as a default.  Google uses a variety of signals to determine when a result is old enough to show: for a patent, the filing date identified by the granting agency; for books, magazines, and articles, the publication date identified by publishers and libraries; for web content, a combination of criteria such as the date Google first encountered the content online and dates mentioned in the content itself.

How do you rank results in Google Patents and the Prior Art Finder?

As with Google Search, we rank results according to their relevance for a given search query. The system involves no human oversight, using algorithms that combine multiple signals to determine the ordering of search results.

Can I download a PDF of a patent I’ve found in Google Patents?

You can download PDFs of US patents by clicking on the “Download PDF” button near the top right of a patent page.

Why does Google offer bulk downloads of US patent and trademark information?

Many research organizations and major law firms rely on bulk data to analyze thousands or millions of patents at once.  Google and the USPTO have partnered to provide bulk file downloads of patent and trademark data to everyone, at no cost. Previously, this information was only available on a file-by-file basis from the USPTO website, or in bulk via CDs, DVDs, or digital tape, and at prices ranging into the tens of thousands of dollars. Now anyone can get the information for free by visiting http://www.google.com/googlebooks/uspto.html.

When will Google Patents include my country's patents?

Google Patents currently includes only documents filed at the USPTO, EPO, and WIPO. We’re always looking to extend our products and services to users worldwide, and will expand the set of patent offices we cover in the future.

How does Google use information provided through patent search queries?

When Google receives a search request, it is processed automatically by computers. As more fully described in Google's Privacy Policy, Google uses information collected through its services to provide, maintain, protect and improve Google services, to develop new ones, to protect Google and Google users, and to provide users tailored content. The Privacy Policy also describes the limited situations in which Google will share user information with third parties.

Can I submit a suggestion or feature request for Google Patents?

Absolutely. Our team is working hard to improve Google Patents, and we encourage you to send us suggestions. Just click on the Send Feedback link at the bottom of patent pages. We can't respond individually, but we'll read everything you send us.