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Entrepreneurship: Patent Searching

This guide supports UCI’s innovation and entrepreneurship community by connecting users to relevant resources used to conduct research throughout the entrepreneurial process.

Search for Patents

USPTO Patent Full-Text & Image Database (PatFT)
Access: Public
Geography: US

Searchable database of published patents, powered by the US Patent & Trademark Office. (Searches are limited to patent numbers and/or classification codes for pre-1976 patents.)

    For patents by a given company, use the company's official name (e.g., Amazon Technologies, Inc.) in the "Assignee Name" field.

USPTO Patent Application Full-Text & Image Database 
Access: Public
Geography: US

Searchable database of published US patent applications. Coverage is from March 2001 to the present; updated weekly.


Access: Public
Geography: US & Global

Espacenet is the largest public patent database on the internet. It contains 110 million patent documents from more than 90+ countries including Canada and the U.S or a total of 100+ patent authorities, plus 2 million records for non-patent literature cited in EPO search reports. Espacenet is produced by the European Patent Office (EPO). 

Google Patents
Access: Public

Geography: US & Global

Google Patents includes over 120 million patent publications from 100+ patent offices around the world, as well as many more technical documents and books indexed in Google Scholar and Google Books, and documents from the Prior Art Archive. See instructions for searching Google Patents.​

The Lens

Access: Public
Geography: US & Global

A joint initiative of Cambia (an independent non-profit institute) and Queensland University of Technology. An open access host for over 100 million patent records from 95+ jurisdictions, along with over 200 million scholarly records. Its search system allows for use of advanced boolean functions, structured search, biological search, and classification search options to find the most relevant and important patent.  

  • To find US companies who own the most patents: >> Patents [tab] >> Owners [left menu]
  • To find the top companies applying for the most patents: >> Patents [tab] >> Applicants [left menu]

​Derwent Innovations Index 
(Web of Science)
Access: UCI
Geography: US & Global

Covers over 20 million patents worldwide from 1963 to the present in three sections: chemical, electrical and electronic, and engineering.

  • Monitor an invention’s influence by using the “Cited Patent Search” tool to find patents that cite a given patent or patents.

Materials Science & Engineering

Access: UCI
Geography: US & Global

Millions of bibliographic abstracts covering new technologies and engineering research. Features both scholarly journals and grey literature including: patents, conference proceedings, government reports, newswires, etc. to provide the widest awareness and discovery of developments in the field.  

Search Strategies & Tips

NOLO's Patent Searching Made Easy [eBook]
Access: UCI
Learn how to verify the patent status of an idea, search Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries, and use online patent search services.  Learn how to assign your idea to the right class, compare it to related ideas, and then determine if it's novel enough to qualify for a patent.

7-Step U.S. Patent Search Strategy Guide

Access: Public
Detailed PDF handout (including examples and screenshots) outlining the Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC)’s suggested procedure for patent searching.

How to Conduct a Preliminary U.S. Patent Search: A Step by Step Strategy
Access: Public
A 38-minute web based tutorial from The Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC) Program covering the following topics: benefits of thorough searching, patentability, prior art, Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC), and patent search steps.

Classification Searching

Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) is a hierarchical system that groups similar patents together (similar to NAICS codes used for grouping companies in the same industry). CPC facilitates searching for "like" patents, regardless of the terminology used to describe the invention. 

Example of CPC Scheme:
A46B 9/04 toothbrush bristles arrangement

Level CPC Code Description
Section A Human Necessities
Class A46 Brushware
Subclass A46B Brushes
Main Group A46B 9/00 Arrangement of bristles in the brush body
Subgroup A46B 9/04 ... for toothbrushes

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