A patent is a legal document that describes an invention, what it does and how it works, complete with mechanical drawings of the parts. Virtually every piece of technology we use has one or more patents associated with it. Patents can be a good way to determine how a specific device works, as well as to see what goes into designing and describing a device or process.
Full text patents from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the European Patent Office (EPO), World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), as well as the Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt (DPMA), Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO), and China Patent Inquiry System (SIPO). Dates vary by source: U.S. patent documents date back to 1790, EPO and WIPO to 1978. Tips for searching Google Patents
Includes European, United States, and World IPO, as well as some Japanese and Chinese patents with full image availability varying from country to country.
Full scanned images of every U.S. patent from 1790-current. Patents earlier than 1976 can only be retrieved by patent number or patent classification code. Patents from 1976-current can be searched for using keywords, inventor, etc. Patents displayed page by page and require special plugin to view.
According to the USPTO, a patent is the grant of a property right to the inventor that excludes others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention in the United States or importing the invention into the United States for a limited time period. The three kinds of patents are utility (non-provisional), design, and plant patents. For more information see What Are Patents, Trademarks, Servicemarks, and Copyrights?
Special kinds of applications relating to the utility patent include: