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I'm aware of several resources for searching the national or regional (e.g. EU) patent databases, but have found no tool for searching patents in all (or even several) countries at the same time.

Is there a free resource for searching patents globally?

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This seems a little broad, and it's only going to have a Yes/No answer, because "Is there a" ... I wonder if we can rework it to be "What publicly available resources are there for searching patent databases globally in on easy fashion?" ... are you looking for free tools, or are paid tools ok too? Do they need to be targeted to lawyers or laymen? In addition, can it search a single database at a time, or does it need to search many at once? – jcolebrand Sep 5 '12 at 20:31
up vote 14 down vote accepted

WIPO has a patent search interface that covers PCT applications and many national databases, including Europe, Japan, Korea, Russia, many Latin American countries, and more. I think all currently-applicable patents in these countries are covered, and there is additional historical data for some countries, but some of them only index metadata and abstracts, only a few provide full-text search.

EPO has a patent search interface, Espacenet which includes a search engine for European and PCT patents and applications as well as links to other countries' databases (especially Asian countries).

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Try IP.com this is exactly what they do.
U.S. Japanese, Chinese, European & Canadian;
Patents, Applications, and Prior Art;
in one free search.

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The Lens, started as Patent Lens 15 years ago, is open, free, no advertising (secure) and a public service. It searches in over 90+ jurisdictions and hosts 100M patent records. It is not just federated search, but comprehensive links, analysis, embedding and sharing of records, collections and annotations.

It is run by a global social enterprise, Cambia and a publicly funded University, Queensland University of Technology (QUT).

It also has uniquely over 15M non-patent literature citations linked to canonical sources, to seek and explore prior and enabling art.

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There is no free global patent search system. There has been tremendous amounts of normalization of intellectual property law around the world through the World Intellectual Property Organization, but as of today there is no free service, governmental or otherwise, that can search the multitude of patent databases around the world.

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However Espacenet has 90mio applications available from many, many countries including the US – mplungjan Sep 22 '12 at 16:38

The biggest free patent information database is Espacenet like mentioned already. Bu there are many free databases. Depends what kind of information do you need. On of the best resources about patent information databases and search tools is Intellogist and their patent coverage map http://intellogist.com/wiki/Patent_Coverage_Map Select the country and you will see the list of databases. Or you can browse the databases by technology fields http://intellogist.com/wiki/Resource:Resource_Finder Quite interesting search tool is http://www.priorsmart.com/ which is linked directly to several other databases.

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