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The University of Massachusetts Amherst


Where to Start

Much of patent searching depends on several factors to consider:
* how authoritative do you want the search to be

* how to date do you want the information to be

* how much time do you have to spend on this search

* your comfort level with using a computer and search systems

* the invention, is it innovative technology, or does it require searching patents before 1975

* your knowledge of U.S. patent classification

* do you need to search just patents or also patent applications

Has this been patented? - How to get started

A thorough patent search should be conducted to determine if an invention has been patented.  This will entail searching several different patent websites, so it is wise to keep a journal of your work to avoid duplicating efforts.

In general:

1.  Brainstorm Keywords to describe your invention - think of synonyms.

2.  Use Keywords to search for a similar match of your invention in Google Patents.

3.  Note the class and subclass of the similar invention - either in USPC or CPC, or both.

4.  Use the class and subclass to search patents and patent applications at the USPTO website classification or the Espacenet databases.

5.  Trace related patents through references.

Organizing your work

Keeping a simple log of your patent search process and progress can be helpful.
A simple log may track the 
Date of the search, Database searched, Search terms used, Number of results, Patents of interest, Patent Class/Subclass, and Notes about the search.

Search Google Patents

Use the Google Patents database to get started and explore, although features to filter the results are limited.  Note patents of interest and the class(es) of those patents.

Google Patent Search

U.S. Patent Public Search

 Patent Public Search is the patent database of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Patent Public Search
Patent Public Search Micro Tutorials

Search Espacenet

Espacenet - Produced by the European Patent Office, Espacenet is accessible to beginners and experts and is updated daily. It contains data on more than 140 million patent documents worldwide. 

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
  • see what your competitors are developing

Espacenet allows you to search using natural language, like Google Patents or has classification searching options.

Recorded online tutorials.

Databases With Subscriptions

The InnovationQ database is accessible to patrons with a UMass Amherst account.  This powerful search tool uses semantic searching to explore and display search results in novel and engaging ways. videos.

DNA Searching

    Reaping the Benefits of Genomic and Proteomic Research: Intellectual Property Rights, Innovation, and Public Health.
    National Research Council (US) Committee on Intellectual Property Rights in Genomic and Protein Research and Innovation; Merrill SA, Mazza AM, editors.Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2006.

     A list of searches to identify DNA-based U.S. patents from Appendix B: Search Algorithms Used to Identify Patents of Interest, is available on the National Library of Medicine website.

 Search and analyse Biological Sequences disclosed in patents.

Choose among the 5 apps available to you to search and analyse the DNA, RNA and protein sequences found in patents. The Lens’ unique open PatSeq facility allows you to search, analyse and share the biological sequences disclosed in patents. This is the world’s largest publicly available database with internal transparency metrics.

EMBL European Bioinformatics Institute Patent data resources at the EBI contain patent abstracts, patent chemical compounds, patent sequences and patent equivalents. There are various ways of accessing and searching the patent data.

Copyright © EMBL-EBI 2023 | EBI is an outstation of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory.