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The University of Massachusetts Amherst


About Patents in Non-US Countries

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO, provides answers to questions about patents and patent prosecution in countries around the world (Frequently Asked Questions), such as: How can patents be obtained worldwide?

Find out more about the International Patent Cooperation Treatey (PCT) System.

The WIPO PATENTSCOPE database provides access to:

How to Learn More

WIPO eLearning Center

Our rich portfolio of courses on IP caters to different target audiences: inventors and creators, business managers and IP professionals, policy makers and government officials of IP institutions, diplomats, students and teachers of IP and the civil society. Courses combine traditional face-to-face and distance learning methodologies which explains how to stimulate innovation, creativity and development.

Espacenet Patent Database

Free access to over 140 million patent documents worldwide, Espacenet is accessible to beginners and experts and is updated daily. It is produced by the European Patent Office, and combines the smart natural language searching of Google with powerful control in limiting the results. 

You can use Espacenet to: search and find patent publications, machine-translate patent documents, track the progress of emerging technologies, find solutions to technical problems, and see what companies are developing. There are extensive training materials provided on the website,

Other Non U.S. Patent Databases

A list of countries with links to their patent office websites is provided by the European Patent Office here:  Patent offices outside the European Patent Organisation.

Some additional commonly used databases are linked below. Each database has unique features and you might have one particular need or database search preference:

Comparison of Free Patents Databases Online is a document lisitng various free patent databases with advantages and disadvantages of each (complied by PTRC Librarian Jim Miller).

Global Patent Searching Strategy

Finding international patents involves using the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) system.  This is a bilateral system which has been jointly developed by the EPO and the USPTO.  It combines the best classification practices of the two offices.

This classification system is much like that used by the USPTO (USPC - United States Patent Classification) in that each invention is categorized into a particular set of classification terms.  The classification term is made up of 4 four parts:

Section Symbol (Letter)  -  Class Symbol (2 digit #)  -  Subclass (letter)  -  Group Number (1-3 digit #)