I was just wondering with what tools would it be possible to filter patent results for a particular topic(Or is there a way I could just search through the claims in each patent to confirm novelty). just performed a search on google patents and got about 40,000+ related results

2 Answers 2


You can either use keywords for filtering, or something better, use the patent classifications systems put in place by different patent offices. Based on the technical details of the invention, the patent examiners classify each patent application according to a hierarchical classification system; each examiner may assign one or more classification codes to each patent document. You can filter by patent classifications in Google Patents, for example.

The most common patent classification system is the IPC, then you also have the USPC (only used in US patent documents as far as I know) and CPC (this one is based on IPC, but has more codes, thereby making possible to classify the patent documents with more detail). In each of these links you can search for the technical details of your interest, copy the corresponding code, and use it in a patent database (e.g. Google Patents) so that only patent documents with that code or codes are retrieved.

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    Classification codes are very powerful. One way to find them is to find some relevant patents and try filtering by their classification codes.
    – Eric S
    Oct 30, 2019 at 20:02
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    Exactly. Thanks for pointing that out. Oct 31, 2019 at 8:13
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    Classification is also tricky to rely on because - there are subtle distinctions between classes, things can be misclassified, and the claims determine the class, not the disclosure. For a novelty search that can be a meaningful distinction. Still, I agree, class is a good thing to know about.
    – George White
    Nov 3, 2019 at 5:15
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    It's true they can get misclassified, but on the positive side your search has way less noise than using keywords for instance. AFAIK examiners should not limit themselves to the claims whenever they classify documents. In some patent search engines, patent families are grouped together, and the classifications thereof too, in which case the likelihood of the family being misclassified is lower since it can be expected that at least one examiner of the family gets it right. But when the examiners are lazy, they classify applications in a very general group and that is a problem. Nov 3, 2019 at 8:21

Google patents offers many ways to narrow a search. You might start with google patents advanced. It also has an "about" section. You can limit a search by country, status, just look in title, etc. Below is an excerpt from that information. Although google patents is usually used in a more simple way it does have Boolean capabilities and even now supports proximity testing.

Besides google patent, there are many other search possibilities, including The Lens Espacenet, PatentScope and Free Patents Online.

You mention specifically searching in claims regarding novelty. Claims are not usually the focus of a novelty search.

Go to Advanced Search (boolean entry isn't available on the homepage)
Enter your query in a "Search Term" box on the left

Boolean syntax (USPTO or EPO format): For more complicated searches, full boolean logic is supported. The default operator is AND with left associativity. Note: this means safety OR seat belt is searched as (safety OR seat) AND belt. Each word automatically includes plurals and close synonyms, and CPCs can also be used without a special syntax, like (safety belt) OR B60R22/00. Adjacent words that are implicitly ANDed together, such as (safety belt), are treated as a phrase when generating synonyms.

Proximity: You can use proximity operators to boost the score of documents if they contain expressions near each other. Note: proximity operators only change ranking, not retrieval. NEAR, NEARx, NEAR/x, or /xw means matches are a maximum of x words away, in any order. WITH means 20 words away, any order, and SAME means 200 words away, any order. AJD, AJDx, ADJ/x, or +xw are the same as NEAR, but matches must be in the same order.

Example: (safety ADJ/5 belt) NEAR/10 (baby OR child) SAME vehicle.

Searching in title, abstract, claims, CPC: You can search inside a specific field using field names. Use TI=(safety belt) to search in the title, AB= for the abstract and CL= for the claims. For CPCs, CPC=B60R22 will match documents with exactly this CPC, CPC=B60R22/low matches documents with this CPC or a child classification of this CPC. CPCs can also be used without a field prefix (see Searching by keywords and classifications above).

Wildcards, truncation: Although we automatically generate plurals, you can instead specify wildcard patterns of words to search. Wildcards only work on single words. The top 25 most common matches will be ORed together. Note: wildcards only work on English words. The wildcards are ? (zero or one character), * or $ (zero or more characters), $x (zero to x characters), and # (exactly one character). You can include more than one wildcard symbol per word. Examples: saccharide? and hydroxyphenyl*.

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