PTRC | Searching Patents

Below are some common types of patent searches. If your question is similar to any of the below, click and see more informaiton on how to conduct your search:

Search Options:

  • All patents ever issued by the United States government are in the USPTO web database.
  • Only patents issued between 1976 and the present are searchable in full text.
  • The only way to search the USPTO patents database for patents issued before 1976 is either by patent number, or by classification code.

Keep in Mind:

  • Patent searching varies in complexity, based on your particular needs. If you are searching for a "known" patent, for example, you have a patent number already, or you are looking for something your grandfather invented, or you want a list of everything Ocean Spray has ever invented, you can do this relatively easy on the USPTO web site. If, however, you are an inventor, looking to see if anyone has claims to a similar patent, you can expect hours of searching.
  • Patent searching often involves searching creatively. For example, if you invent a new exercise chair, you might want to search under exercise and exercise accessories, and also search chairs. Start brainstorming concepts before you search, thinking about both the functions and the components of your invention.
  • If you are just getting started, you may be interested in taking a look at this video presentation from the Inventor Assistance Program. It provides a quick introduction to protecting your concept:
    https://uspto.connectsolutions.com/conceptprotection