From what I understand, the USPTO Web site has a system called Patent Public Search that can be used to search for patents. On this USPTO page, there is an information box that mentions the discontinuation of certain existing services (such as PatFT and AppFT.) There is also a link to a guide in the form of a PDF document, "Patent Public Search - Setting up external searches," that describes how to create specific links to patents in the Patent Public Search system.

The information in the "Patent Public Search - Setting up external searches" document could be useful for creating a hyperlink to a specific patent or multiple hyperlinks to multiple patents. However, the document refers to "customers" and it also mentions specific means by which URLs can be created and accessed by "[u]sers."

The questions I have are:

  1. Can a member of the general public who has no account with the USPTO and who has never applied for or owned any patents use the guidance in the "Patent Public Search - Setting up external searches" document to create links to other individuals' patents or other parties' patents in the Patent Public Search system?

  2. If the answer to (1) is yes, can the same member of the general public make the links to others' patents available to the general public and/or implement the links as hyperlinks on, for example, a page on a personal Web site that is viewable by the general public?

  • This might be better asked on Law SE since it is essentially a licensing question.
    – Eric S
    Commented Nov 18, 2022 at 16:37

1 Answer 1


Patents are, by their nature, public documents. Anyone can use the system to get and do whatever they like with the search/URL system. They do not mean anything by using the word customers. I assume it is motivated by bureaucrats being encouraged to think like a business.

The link is essentially a search string that is searching by document number for a specific document. You might note that the previous "perma links" using the discontinued search mechanisms turned out not to be very permanent.

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