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?

  • 3
    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
    Commented Sep 5, 2012 at 20:31

8 Answers 8


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.


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).


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

  • IP.com has a free trial offer, but is a paid service.
    – George White
    Commented Mar 12, 2019 at 22:59

DEPATISnet is the best option. It is a completely free database and belongs to German Patent Office. I have worked on the database for over three years and found that the result quality is as competitive as an expensive paid database like Thomson Innovation.

Databases like Espacenet , Google Patents , etc. do not have proximity operators like "Word A and Word B separated by a maximum of three words in between".

proximity operators

i. help you quickly narrow down the focus of your search to idea based on the context rather than the old-fashioned methods like pure "AND, OR, NOT operators",

ii. the later methos do not give you any intelligent results but rather throw a cumbersome number of results which are very time consuming to screen and hence have poor efficiency.


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.


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.

  • However Espacenet has 90mio applications available from many, many countries including the US
    – mplungjan
    Commented Sep 22, 2012 at 16:38

You can use Google Patent Search to conduct free patent searches. It contains more than 87 million patents from 17 patent offices. Added to that, its sleek UI and some functionalities that help you find a prior art in non-patent literature makes it a go to source to conduct a free patent search.

Type patents.google.com in the address bar of your browser and you are all set to search. Now you should know that we can divide Google Patent Search into two categories: Simple Search and Advanced Search.

Google Patent Search – Basic

As the name suggest, simple search is similar to normal Google search. You enter a keyword – I inserted 'Indoor Position System' – and you get results:


There is a lot of information in the above screenshot which could be critical for your patent search. For example, consider the first result Indoor positioning systems and wireless fingerprints. Here is what this result tells you:

Title: Indoor positioning systems and wireless fingerprints

Abstract: An indoor positioning system and method that correlates map 
          locations to respective wireless access point (AP) fingerprints, 
          and wherein each

Publication Number: US9301100

Filing Date: 20 Jul 2015 ‎Date of Issue: 29 Mar 2016

Inventors: ‎Krishnam Raju Jampani

Assignee: Blackberry Limited

If you click on the result, you’ll get all this information tabulated on the RHS of the UI. Then why did I bother mentioning all this? It’s because opening all the results to get this info is not a good idea. You must get key info there and then on the search results.


Also, you can utilize the below Boolean search operators to get a desire result by running an advanced key string in the search box.

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Also I advise you to go through this article that explains how to use different functionalities and operators of this tool with examples: 7 Tricks to make most out of Google Patent Search - GreyB . This will for sure be of a help to you.

Google Patent Search: Advance

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Type patents.google.com/advanced in the address bar for Google Advanced Patent search which, to some extent, is equivalent to Boolean operators used in the simple search. If you look at the below screenshot, you will find that you can search patents by setting multiple criteria like patent title, inventor name, keyword or by applying date restrictions, etc.

A word of Caution

One advice I would like to give you is that you shouldn’t be banking too much on Google patent search if you are an entrepreneur who is running a patent search on his own. Google patent search has some serious limitations.

Its database gets update pretty late and there are going to be patents – applications as well as granted – existing and you won’t be able to find them. This has happened a lot with me.

You can consider using Freepatentsonline.com also.

  • 1
    Although patents.google.com is quick and easy, I've recently had issues with it not finding patents that other sites like The Lens does.
    – Eric S
    Commented Jun 28, 2017 at 16:38
  • 2
    @EricShain, As I mentioned, Google Patents is a bit slow in updating its database and hence it may take even months for new patents to show up in its results. What was the problem that you faced with finding patents? For what I know, Google is pretty active in taking bug reports and suggestions from user, so you can report it and see if they can help solve this. Commented Jun 29, 2017 at 8:24
  • It's much worse than that. I tried searching my own patents and Google patents seems to have lost more than 20 that other sites find. I've left bug reports but no fix yet. It used to work fine.
    – Eric S
    Commented Jun 29, 2017 at 11:36
  • Well, yes. Google patents is great for reading patents, but not always good for searching.
    – Mikk Putk
    Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 14:10

To conduct an international patent search, you have two options. First, either you conduct it on your own on free patent databases or second, you get it conducted from a patent search firm. Purchasing a paid subscription of a commercial patent database, considering its cost, will be of no use if you have to conduct only a handful of searches. If you want to go through consultancy route, find a patent search firm that you find reliable and get your patent search conducted. If your budget doesn’t allow that or due to some other reasons you want to conduct the search on your own, the below free database – I’ve provided some links to user guide/tutorial as well – will help you. Google Patents: What Google patents is, why you should use it, its pro and cons, and the like have been already mentioned in one of answers by my friend Nitin. I recommend you to read it from here: https://www.quora.com/How-can-I-use-Google-Custom-Search-to-search-only-for-patents/answer/Nitin-Balodi-1 Espacenet: Espacenet is free patent database offered by the European Patent Office that has more than 95 million patent documents in its database from around the globe. Espacenet, in 2013, voted #1 for its patent data coverage hence I recommend you to include this database in your list. You can access it by pasting this link on address bar of your browser: https://worldwide.espacenet.com/
Here is a detailed tutorial that will help you know how to use various functionalities of this database: https://www.greyb.com/definitive-guide-patent-searching-101/#EPO

Patentscope Patentscope is offered by the World Intellectual Property Organization. Like Espacenet this is another free patent database that provides you an access to 65+ million patent documents from patent office across the world. Paste this link to access Patentscope: https://patentscope.wipo.int/search/en/search.jsf. Go through this user manual by WIPO to learn how to use the tool: https://patentscope.wipo.int/search/en/help/users_guide_summer2017.pdf . Further, the link I provided above for Espacenet, that also can help you have an understanding of various features of Patentscope by WIPO.

Hope this information will be of a help to you. In case you need any help, don’t hesitate to send a PM.

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