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When an inventor comes up with an idea, s/he usually searches in Google patent or some other 3rd party patent archive sites with specific keywords related to the invention. Now, those keywords are of course logically accessible to the hosting company (i.e. Google for patents.google.com). If Google wants it can easily look into the keywords and have good insight about what may be the invention is and thus there seems to be a serious confidentiality issue for the inventors.

I wonder if there is any legal agreement with USPTO or any patent authority with the hosting sites so that the searching keywords will be inaccessible to the company or any other confidentiality-preserving action? Or its the unfortunate situation that we all need to deal with.

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We all need to deal with it. I have not seen any substantial claim that Google or any others are wholesale stealing patentable ideas. Yours will not be the exception that stands out from the crowd as worth taking the risk to steal.

Also, anything relevant you turn up will need to be listed on a form you file with the USPTO.

Alternatives to google patent include the USPTO database for US patents and patent applications, the EPO’s Espacenet and WIPO’s PatentScope. Commercial sites include free sites like The Lens (now called Lens)and Freepatents Online as well as professional databases requiring expensive subscriptions like Derwent.

Any site that provides search as a large part of their business has every incentive to not organize themselves to steal inventions, very very few of which are worth stealing.

You can also hire a professional searcher who works in the public search room at the USPTO and uses the same databases the examiners use. They will sign NDAs.

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