Patents for Fun and Research


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.


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