I'd like to link to certain patents or patent applications filed with the USPTO.

Google Patents makes this relatively straightforward, hosting patents & applications at this URL scheme:

http://www.google.com/patents/[publication number]

URL schemes at the USPTO aren't so simple. An example of an application URL found at the Patent Application Full-Text and Image Database (AppFT):


Will that application permanently live at that link? And is there a simpler way to link to applications and granted patents at the USPTO?

  • 1
    All of the previous answers to this question are broken now with the launch of USPTO’s Patent Public Search tool in February 2022. Commented Oct 2, 2022 at 18:45
  • Any updates on this since the USPTO's launch of their new tool?
    – ITA
    Commented Oct 16, 2022 at 14:10
  • I also can't find any permalink to a patent publication on the USPTO Patent Public Search.
    – David.P
    Commented Oct 27, 2022 at 20:01

10 Answers 10


From the USPTO web site:

To the Full-Text of a Particular Patent: A special shortened URL format: http://patft1.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?patentnumber=5123456 where the patent number "5123456" may be replaced by any valid patent number within the database, has been established to enable users to more easily construct a URL for bookmarking or linking to the full-text of a single granted patent.

  • Thanks George. This seems to work for patents, but what about pending applications? Commented Feb 8, 2013 at 20:28
  • 2
    I have not found an equivalent scheme for published applications but will keep looking. It seems that google may not have found this - their links to USPTO use the very long URL format.
    – George White
    Commented Feb 9, 2013 at 0:18
  • This approach no longer works.
    – daveyost
    Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 19:03

Creating a URL to the USPTO's published applications is ugly.

But, if you have a number of publications, one work-around is to create the links in the format required by the USPTO by using Excel functions and macros. A list of publication numbers can be placed in a first column, while portions of the constant 'boilerplate' text is placed in a second column, interspersed with references to the first column (in this case, 3 times).

For example, grabbing the USPTO's URL after typing in an arbitrary publication number (20010000044) yields;


In order to create equivalent links for a series of publications, place the publication numbers in column A (say, starting with row 1). In cell B1, insert the following;


The above string is identical to the copied URL except that an equal sign has been prepended, the three sections of boiler plate text have been surrounded by quotation marks, and where the publication number once existed (3 places), it has been replaced with &A1& (or &A1 at the very end of the string).

What this mess does is create a text string which consists of the verbatim material contained in quotation marks, interspersed with the number found in cell A1 (3 times). The ampersands contained outside of the quotation marks are used by Excel to stitch the verbatim text and referenced cell together into a single text string.

Next, use the Macro editor to create a routine which converts the text string into a hyperlink. A somewhat outdated (2008) set of instructions on how to do this can be found at:


Once you've gone to the trouble of creating cell B1, you can copy it and then paste to all cells in column 'B' for which you have a publication number in column 'A' of the same row.

Then, using the Macro, you can convert all the populated cells of column 'B' to hyperlinks. There are ways to incrementally improve this. For example, the three sections of boilerplate text can be stored in individual cells and referenced using 'absolute' references. Also, aliases can be created to hide the strings complexity, and/or, the column width can be minimized. The table of patents and publications, with their hyperlinks can then be copied into Word documents.

The same approach can be used for patents. It is admittedly BUTT UGLY (as is public PAIR's requirement to deal with Captcha every few minutes, but that's another topic).

  • This approach no longer works.
    – daveyost
    Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 19:04

For what it's worth (and, may not be what you're looking for) US published applications are also available at the European Patent Organisation's Espacenet website. These links are a little easier to parse and construct, for example


Here, CC= country code, which is US; NR = publication number, replace with your own; KC = kind code which is A1 for published applications; FT - I don't know what that is.

Please note that the publication number format presently used by Espacenet is year + SIX digits, and you must add kind code A1 at the end (don't know why kind code is needed twice in the URL). Whereas, the USPTO has transitioned to year + SEVEN digits for the same publication numbers.

Hope this helps someone!

  • This still works in 2023!
    – daveyost
    Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 19:03

Here at last is the new link syntax:


More examples I curate:

Can be found by searching US Patent Office

Under Quick Lookup
• type patent number click SEARCH
Under Basic Search
• For example I selected Inventor Name For engelbart AND Applicant Name douglas

Results of either method offer PDF links you can copy

To link to a specific page use standard PDF link syntax, for example:

Note their PDF viewer opens in Thumbnail view, you can click on Outline view icon lets you jump to specific section of the document - if anyone knows how to link directly to the document in Outline view instead of Thumbnail view, or link directly to specific section of the document, e.g. Specification, please share!


To create short URLs to the pdf files of a given patent, this construct works for me (for 00000000 enter the patent number, older ones require leading 0):

Examples: (using 1964 patent 3,541,541 on computer mouse)

If you're starting with a longform URL provided by the site, you can simply strip off the extraneous code following the Section number or patent number to get the shortened URL:

Sample URLs provided by the site

  • This approach no longer works.
    – daveyost
    Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 19:01

Here's how to get a direct link to a PDF document given a patent number.

The patent number is split into three sections: Group A, digits 0-2 (using an 8 digit number, often digit 0 will be a 0 for <10m patent numbers) Group B, digits 3-5 Group C, digits 6-7

So patent 9876543 will be grouped as A(098) B(765) C(43).

The URL is the following, with (A), (B), and (C) replaced by the groups described above.


Meaning the PDF for patent 9876543 is fetched at


Published patent application 2017/0195016 a1

A(2017) B(019) C(50) D(16)


  • This approach no longer works.
    – daveyost
    Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 19:01

Starting with what Guy shared, I was able to parse the patent application URL down a bit more. Here's an example, where the 11-digit number at the end is the replaceable application number.


  • This approach no longer works.
    – daveyost
    Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 19:04

To create permalink for application in word doccument automatically you can use following VBA for fullimages press alt+F11 from Microsoft office window in which you would like to create pemalink which will open a visual basic for application window, go to insert from menubar and select module Paste ths code in the module and save it. press F5 to run it.

Sub AddPATFUShlink()
Dim oRng As Range
Dim strLink As String
    Set oRng = ActiveDocument.Range
    With oRng.Find
        Do While .Execute(FindText:="([0-9]{11})", MatchWildcards:=True)
            strLink = oRng.Text
            strLink = Replace(strLink, Chr(32), "")
            strLink = "http://pdfaiw.uspto.gov/.aiw?PageNum=0&docid=" & strLink & "&homeurl=http\\appft.uspto.gov"
            ActiveDocument.Hyperlinks.Add Anchor:=oRng, _
                                          Address:=strLink, _
            oRng.End = oRng.Fields(1).Result.End
            oRng.Collapse 0
    End With
    Set oRng = Nothing
    Exit Sub
End Sub
  • Could you add some additional descriptive text to explain how this works and what it does? I'm not questioning the validity of the answer, but most of the members of this community will not be familiar with VBA or how to use it in Word.
    – Parker
    Commented Oct 20, 2015 at 11:59
  • 1
    Is it understandable now vallismortis? Commented Oct 23, 2015 at 6:47
  • This approach no longer works.
    – daveyost
    Commented Apr 6, 2023 at 19:01
  • Because USPTO changed it's url Commented Apr 10, 2023 at 10:29

I trimmed the publication link to this and it worked:


Of course, just change the number at the end.


At the top of this page at the USPTO site, there is information about the discontinuation of existing services such as PatFT. The information also has a hyperlink to a PDF document that contains information about generating URLs to perform certain queries (including linking to specific patents.)

In looking at the PDF document, the first part of the document refers to "customers" and talks about specific means via which URLs can be generated. The following question comes to mind: If an individual has their own Web site and the individual has never applied for or owned any US patents, is it permissible for the individual to use the information in the previously-mentioned PDF document to create one or more hyperlinks to other parties' patents and to incorporate the hyperlinks into say, a Web page on the individual's own Web site?

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