An overview of patent databases

Nov 20, 2020

An overview of patent databases

Patent documents contain detailed technical information that often cannot be found anywhere else: up to 80% of current technical knowledge can only be found only in patent documents. Moreover, this information is rapidly available, as most patent applications are published 18 months after the first filing, irrespective of their country of origin.

Since the examination and analysis of a specific technology depend on an accurate search, therefore, patent documents are of strategic means, and identify and finding them requires sufficient knowledge and skills. The growth of the patent documents worldwide makes their monitoring complicated. According to statistics, only in the year 2018, more than 3 million patent documents were published! The question arises here how to do an accurate patent search? What can be used as search resources? How much does it cost?

The solution is using various databases. The Patent database is the online databases, which collect patent documents from one or more patent office and allow users to search extensively in a variety of national and regional patent offices or international patent system. The databases normally are customized to get comprehensive search results. There are many examples of these databases, including the PATENTSCOPE (Patent Database of the World Intellectual Property Organization), Espacenet (European Patent Database), and Google Patents (Database). Mentioned by the famous Google search engine), "LexisNexis PatentSight" (a comprehensive patent analysis platform with access to more than one hundred million patents), and "Orbit" (a highly specialized patent search and analysis platform).


Patent Databases

The choice of patent databases highly depends on the aim, or in other words, the type of patent search is required. For instance, for a  prior art search that is for current litigation, you would want to choose a patent database which covers the patent documents of most of the patent offices.

There are quite a few free services available for searching and we will highlight some of the important ones. Most free sources have particular strengths or weaknesses such as the number of records that can be downloaded, the fields that can be queried, and the format of data.

This article provides a quick overview of some of the main sources of free patent data and introducing some paid patent databases It is intended for quick reference and points to some free tools for accessing patent databases that you may not be familiar with.


USPTO Web Patent Databases

This website not only shows published applications and granted patents, but it also gives information on what patents are, for example, whether your idea is eligible for a patent. This database also provides information about the patent application process, patent maintenance, etc. In this patent database, you can also find news related to a certain keyword when entered into the search bar. 

The USPTO Patent Database contains US patents registered since 1790. It should be noted that patents for the time period of 1790 to 1975 can be searched simply on the basis of the date of issuance, patent number, and current classification, and patents related to this period can be searched in full text.

To use this valuable database,  refer to this link.


۲. PATENTSCOPE patent database

The Patent Cooperation Treaty is a multilateral treaty (PCT) managed by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to allow filing the applications in a large number of countries. This process consists of two phases, national and international phases. At the end of the international phase, the applications entered into the national offices.

The "PATENSCOPE" database has designed initially to access the "PCT" applications but nowadays it has been extended to cover patent applications of many patent offices worldwide. Patent scope provides the full text of all published documents to the interested parties. In this free database, by entering keywords, names of applicants, inventors, and international patent classifications, searching patents would be possible and the database has been equipped with many useful tools that make it possible efficient searching the patent documents in various languages.  

To use this valuable database, you can use this link.


3. Espacenet patent database

Protection of inventions and innovations in the large European market is possible in two ways: 1) filing an application in the national offices of each European country and obtaining a patent in such jurisdiction, 2) filing the application in the European Patent Office (EPO) and obtaining a patent European invention. Since all EU member states are considered as significant markets, therefore the protection of patents in Europe can guarantee monopoly in this huge market for a certain time.

The EPO database is called "Espacenet", which provides access to more than 120 million patent documents from around the world. Through this database, it is possible to "search and identify patent documents", "machine translation of patent documents", "monitor the progress of emerging technologies", "find appropriate solutions to technical problems" and "study the developing technologies of competitors". Turns.

To use this valuable database, you can use this link.


4. Google Patents Database

Google Patents is one of the most interesting and unique products of Google, which works in exactly the same way as this popular search engine. The service was launched on December 14, 2006, and is based on a specific technology and algorithm used for Google Books.

This global search engine allows users to access the full text of patent documents filed in more than 100 patent offices worldwide, including the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the European Patent Office (EPO), PCT applications. It also provides the abstracts of the patent documents which have been filed in some patent office with no access to their full documents.  Moreover, it is possible to download the "PDF" of the full text of patent documents. It is also possible to uses various tools such as Prior Art Finder, which helps users to find documents related to a particular patent or file and check for novelty through a variety of related sources.

To better understand the comprehensiveness of Google Patents and the considerable volume of patents in the database, notice the fact that by mid-2020, this database included more than 120 million patent documents and this huge amount was in addition to many other documents such as technical documents, books in the Google Scholar and Google Books which exist and searchable for searching comprehensive prior art.  These non-patent documents are an innovative way to facilitate the search for prior knowledge and scrutinize the status of a new patent application, and therefore make Google patents somewhat different from other patent search platforms.

To use this valuable database, you can use this link.


5. Free Patents Online Patent Database

This specialized database was established in 2004 by Patents Online LLC. The company is trying to provide services to users interested in this field by offering a set of intellectual property platforms.

Using the FreePatentsOnline or FPO search platform makes you able to find an extensive portfolio of patents, including US patents (applications and patents), European patent documents, Japanese patent abstracts and claims,  PCT patent documents, and a collection of German patent documents.

It should be noted that in addition to "FPO", the company has also developed and commercialized a set of other tools under the brands "CitePatents", "Patent Plaque" and "Plaque It".

To use this valuable database, you can use this link.


6. Lens Patent Database can be considered as an open-source infrastructure on a global scale, which makes the innovation system more efficient, clearer, reasonable, and more comprehensive by providing scientific and technical information )in the form of patents(, and articles together. One of the main goals of the Lens database, which is also emphasized on the platform's website, is to introduce the patent system as an inspiring resource for entrepreneurs, the public, and policymakers. The platform claims to cover up to 95% of patent information from patent offices around the world (as well as scientific links They).

The lens is updating its database in an approximately monthly manner (3 to 4 weeks) and  the database includes the following:

• Data from the European Patent Office Library since 1907

USPTO patents since 1976

USPTO patents since 2001

• EPO patents since 1980

PCT files from the World Intellectual Property Organization since 1978

Full text of Australian patent documents


To use this valuable database, refer to this link.


7. Iran Patent Database

The Iranian patent system operates under the jurisdiction of the judiciary and under the management of the Industrial Property Office or the Iranian Intellectual Property Center and is the source of searching patent documents of Iranian patents. In order to search Iranian patents filed in the Iran patent office, all you have to do is go to the Internal Patents section of the Intellectual Property Center website and select the search option in the database.

To use this valuable database, refer to this link.


Non-free databases

In addition to free available patent databases, some companies in the field of intellectual property have tried to take advantage of the upcoming market opportunity by developing and offering patent search and analysis platforms. In other words, following the increase in attention to the patent system, the patent search and analysis market has also grown significantly, so that according to Fortune Business Insights, the patent analysis market will reach more than 1 / by 2027. $ 6 billion increase. It should be noted that along with the need for technology companies to search and analyze patents and the growing trend, technical advances in machine learning, artificial intelligence and neural networks have had significant effects on the substantial growth of this market.

The key point with non-free search platforms is to customize and integrate search services with the latest advanced analytics method. These platforms normally use the searched "data" set in the form of detailed graphs and analyzes, or in other words, practical "information" which results in valuable analyzing data  In the following, we will introduce you to some of these specialized patent searches and analysis platforms.


1. Orbit Patent Database

Questel is a global leader in intellectual property solutions with more than 6,000 customers and one million users in 30 countries. The company has developed a comprehensive suite of software for searching, analyzing, and managing patents and intellectual property, and claims that the services provided include prior knowledge search, patent drafting, international registration, translation, and patent certification. Using its "IP cost management” platform could save costs in a range of 30 to 60%.

The Questel patent search and analysis platform, called Orbit Intelligence, contains more than 54 million family patents, 100 million patents, and 12 million industrial designs from around the world. This platform is completely flexible and searches are done in real-time.

To use this software platform, you can use this link.


۲. Anaqua 9 Patent Database

This software platform is owned by Anaqua and users can identify and access market opportunities based on integrated patent analysis. Anacostia 9 is an advanced forecasting tool that can calculate IP future costs and provide a transparent cost structure based on it.

According to the integrated analysis available in this platform, the analysis of competitive situations and opportunities related to the exchange of exploitation licenses is done more carefully. Key features of this platform include ease of use, integrated analytics capability, information portal updates, the ability to predict and evaluate future IP-based costs based on historical and current data, integration of trademark information data, identification of patents blocking key competitors' activities, and noted full support for English, Japanese, French, and German.

To use this software platform, use this link.


3. IPlytics Patent Database

IPlytics is an intellectual property start-up that, despite its very short life (founded in 2014), has had significant success in the intellectual property market. The company's powerful patent search and analysis platform allows tech- companies to search for new and emerging technologies and, by analyzing technical and competitive information, gain a realistic concept about the competitive environment as well as the future of technology.

The platform's unique properties to other databases are, its ability to evaluate patents, as well as clustering and linking patents to other documents, including research papers, technology standards, and company profiles. The most well-known customers of this platform include Volkswagen, Audi, Daimler, Intel, Qualcomm, Microsoft, Panasonic, Canon, Huawei, and LG. The presence of this number of technology giants in the customer portfolio of the company and the different areas of work of each of them well indicates the value and potential capabilities of the patent search and analysis platform.

To use this software platform, you can use this link.


4. LexisNexis PatentSight Patent Database

This unique platform, developed by a collaboration among LexisNexis IP and PatentSight. This platform allows users to make strategic decisions based on advanced analytics in addition to full access to patent data.

The database contains more than 100 million patent documents in English and uses a specific method to evaluate the searched patents. The Patent Asset Index can recognize valuable patents from less value. It also analyzes the patents of competitors, suppliers, and customers. It also could use to identify opportunities, threats, and new technology areas. In addition to the ability to search the full text of inventions, a similarity search tool by using artificial intelligence is provided in this platform, which makes it easier to find similar patent technology. In addition to all these unique features, emerging areas of technology, such as automatic vehicle navigation, blockchain, machine learning, robotics, etc., can be pre-defined and their patents can be accessed directly.

To use this software platform, you can use this link


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