Included in this post are search engines and portals where you have free access to patent documents from all over the world. They are best used for locating a patent document or full citation for an item you already know about. The tools listed in this post are not intended to research patentability or prior-art searching.
There is a very easy to use Google Advanced Patent Search. This is the portal I used to link to the Rubik’s Cube patent image in this post. All I needed was the patent number!
The Feldberg Engineering librarians have written this excellent overview of patent search that includes comments on prior art search, how to read a patent, and valuation of patents.
Other places you might search for patents are
- Ei Patents which offers sophisticated search and retrieval tools across all patents registered with the U.S. and European Patent Offices.
- esp@cenet - international patents, patent families
- Freshpatents - the latest published US patent applications each week,
- keyword monitoring, RSS feeds, browse by location.
- USPTO Patent Database - full-text since 1976, full-page images since 1790
- WikiPatents - contributes to the US patent system by reviewing issued patents and pending patent applications; features a wiki-like interface to review, rate, and discuss patents
You can always request copies of patents from DartDoc, or ask your librarian for assistance in locating them.
And for a little more fun, check out Patently Apple. Patently Apple is a long time commentator and speculator of all things Apple done by watching public patent applications, legal filings and more.