Skip to Main Content

Patents and Trademarks : Searching

A guide to information on patents and trademarks, patent searching, inventor resources and UW intellectual property resources.

Get Patent Help!

Steenbock Library is a USPTO Patent & Trademark Resource Center. Read about our Patents & Trademark services.

For questions or to set up an appointment, email or call (608) 262-3007.

Patent Search Strategies

This video explains patent search strategies using


Patent Databases

Suggested Databases for Novice Patent Searchers

Google Patents Patent Search

  • Full text for US granted patents (1976-present) and applications (2001-present), EPO granted patents (1976-present), WIPO PCT applications (1976-present); also includes searchable data for over 81 million patents and applications worldwide from 1907-present
  • Filtering, data visualization and export options
  • Includes cited scholarly works via PubMed, CrossRef, and Microsoft Academic
  • Register for free to save searches, create notes and collections, and export larger sets of search results

Google Patents

  • Full text for US granted patents (1790 to present) US applications (2001-present), and international patent documents (updated coverage available here)
  • Links to US & International Classification tools, links to other databases, and patent status information
  • Good place to start a preliminary patent search - use or Espacenet to follow up with classification searching

U.S. Patent Database


USPTO Patent Public Search

Searches three USPTO patent databases by default:

  • US-PGPUB includes U.S. pre-grant patent applications from March 2001 to present; searchable by any word in the full text of the application)
  • USPAT includes
    • U.S. patents from 1970-present; searchable by any word in the full text of the patent; and
    • U.S. patents from 1790-1969; searchable only by issue date, patent number, and classification
  • USOCR includes OCR scanned U.S. patents from before 1970; searchable by any word in the full text of the patent

Each document includes downloadable PDF.

International Patent Databases

Espacenet - European Patent Office

Espacenet Patent Search

  • European Patent Office official patent database with over 80 million patent documents from 92 countries, including U.S. and other non-European countries
  • Patent documents in the language of the issuing country; >5 million have a searchable English abstract
  • Save selected results (up to 500 per search) in "My Patent List" or export to Excel spreadsheet

WIPO PatentScope Database

  • World Intellectual Property Organization database includes International Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications in full text format on the day of publication, as well as patent documents of participating national and regional patent offices

Historical Patent Research

Patent Status & Ownership

Patent Center
Find detailed information on patent application histories, including USPTO examiner search strategies and correspondences between applicants and the USPTO. Search on a patent or application number and select Documents and Transactions to view individual documents.

Patent Assignments Database
Find any recorded changes in ownership for an issued patent or published application

Design Patent Searching

Inventors can protect non-functional ornamental features of their inventions with design patents in the U.S. Other types of industrial design rights protect these features elsewhere in the world. Below are databases for searching design patents and other protected industrial designs.