Last-modified: Mar 02 2000
Copyright: (c) 2000 David Novak
Maintainer: David Novak < XXXX@XXXXX.COM >
Patent Research FAQ
Welcome. This FAQ introduces the tools and concepts used in patent
research. We are covering the process of locating comparable patents -
not the legal process of patent protection.
This FAQ resides at SpireProject.com/patfaq.txt
SpireProject.co.uk/patfaq.txt and http://cn.net.au/patfaq.txt
This FAQ is just a small part of a much larger effort to help you with
information research. The Spire Project is available as 3 website,
mirrors, zip-file, and 3 other faqs. I have included here a text version
ofour patent research (http://cn.net.au/patents.htm).
David Novak - XXXX@XXXXX.COM
The Spire Project : SpireProject.com, SpireProject.co.uk, Cn.net.au
A patent discloses certain facts about a commercially important
invention in exchange for certain rights to exploit the invention. This
is a little simplistic, but explains why patents are factual, unique
from other research resources, and a little vague in certain specifics.
(See a sample a sample US patent, Australian patent, and this
This article first addresses the most useful free databases, then
describes national patent agency resources, commercial patent databases,
then other commercial services. At the end of this article, we describe
patent classification and patent search strategy.
Free Patent Databases
These databases are freely available online:
 The US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) provides a US Patent
Bibliographic database at patents.uspto.gov with full use of fields,
date and abstract text searching. Choose between their boolean
search, advanced (field) search or by US patent number. They
also maintain a fulltext [US] Aids Patent Database and other resources.
 The IBM's Patent Server is a public service providing a different
patent database of US Patent abstracts. The IBM service is similar
but different from the USPTO service - certainly not less powerful.
 The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) maintains the
Canadian Patent Bibliographic Database which extends from '89 to the
present. Abstracts are not provided. Descriptive info is here.
 The Japanese Patent Office (www.jpo-miti.go.jp) has a searchable
database of Japanese patent abstracts, which includes the patent
number, title, inventor, company, and abstract of the patent.
There are more free patent databases - but each is limited and not as
research-worthy. Consider also the Internet Patent Search System.
Gregory Aharonian (remember XXXX@XXXXX.COM ?) currently delivers
US Patent titles retrieved by class/subclass. He also delivers Patent
abstract retrieval using patent numbers (but currently from 1981 to
1989). As you now know, patent.uspto.gov also delivers abstract
retrieval, but I like the more minimal title lists here.
Patent libraries are an important and cost-effective patent resource.
IP Australia (www.ip