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Q&A: Doing a patent search

Question:
Can I do a detailed patent search here at Stanford Libraries?

Answer:
Swain Chemistry and Chemical Engineering Library has a good patent site pointing to various databases, search aids, etc. Google Patent Search covers the entire collection of issued patents and millions of patent application made available by the USPTO—from patents issued in the 1790s through those most recently issued in the past few months (from their About page).

In order to search the official patent and trademark databases, at the United States Patent Office, you need to go to one of the authorized depository libraries for patent searches. These depository sites have full access to the patent databases. The closest such depository to Stanford is in Sunnyvale, at the Sunnyvale Public Library.

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Q&A: Doing a patent search

The Stanford Libraries have a subscription to a database called Derwent Innovations Index via ISI's Web of Knowledge Interface. DII indexes the patent literature and is international in scope. It is possible to do both text and chemical structures searches in DII plus see cited/citing items as identified by a patent examiner. DII provides descriptive titles and abstracts that are often more informative than ones provided originally by inventor/assignee who submitted the patent. Full-text links are available for many items in DII's search results. While DII is an excellent database, the number of fields available for searching via the Web of Science interface are insufficient to determine if prior art exists.

Google Patents

You can also search Google Patents Search, which allows you to search the full text of the U.S. patent corpus. According to the Google Patent FAQ, "Google Patent Search covers the entire collection of issued patents and millions of patent application made available by the USPTO—from patents issued in the 1790s through those most recently issued in the past few months."

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