I am looking for a way to find the most cited patents in a field as a method of getting to know the basics and state of the art fast while reading the minimum amount of material (even though I suppose it is debatable whether the number of citations corresponds to the quality of the patent).

However, I don't think it would be possible to perform this search with the free tools that I normally use (espacenet, google patents). Is this true or is there a method that I am missing? Is this possible with commercial tools?

  • There are commercial tools doing this. I know of no free tools, but maybe you're lucky and somebody else does.
    – user18033
    Dec 13, 2016 at 18:52
  • Can you please name a commercial tool for this? Dec 13, 2016 at 19:11
  • No, sorry. I don't have a tool name right now and even if I already had it, I'd probably not be allowed to tell .. You might want to start searching from this intellogist.wordpress.com/2012/01/10/… or similar google searches (citation tools patent, etc.).
    – user18033
    Dec 13, 2016 at 19:27

1 Answer 1


Your best bet is The Lens. The Lens does patent searching like Google Patents, but is much more feature packed. One of the options in Summary View is to sort by "Cited" which list the most cited patents in the current search in order. In addition, there is a really nifty graphical analysis view which shows lots of other interesting information.

The Lens is my favorite free patent searching site. If you choose to log in (you don't need to), you get other useful features such as saved search queries, search history and collections. It is a perfectly free non-commercial website.

Here is a screenshot of how to sort by cited for the search term "autonomous": enter image description here

  • 1
    @Kamilien1 Thanks for adding the screenshot.
    – Eric S
    Mar 19, 2017 at 20:49

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