Google Patents is an offshoot of the Google Books service and enables the user to search patents in their full text.
Google Patents was launched on December 14, 2006 and uses the same technology as Google Books. In the first step, approximately 7 million U. S. patents were imported by Google patents and made searchable by means of an OCR scan. In August 2012, the database was expanded to include European patents filed with the European Patent Office (EPO).
The service was expanded in September 2013 to include German patents as well as patent documents from China, Canada and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).
A large amount of information is stored for each patent registered. The following data is available, among others:
The advanced search allows you to filter for a variety of this information and additional criteria. This makes it possible, for example, to search for the patents of a particular inventor or company, a particular country or period of time. In order to be able to view foreign-language patents, Google Patents translates foreign patents with the help of the Google Translator. On the other hand, if a patent has been filed by the applicant in several languages, it can be retrieved at the push of a button. This YouTube video shows how patent search with Google Patents works in detail: "How to Do a Patent Search Using Google and EscapeNet for your invention."
An additional function of the patent search is the Prior Art Finder. This service enables the user to search the network for previous, similar inventions. For example, it is possible to determine whether an invention is actually new or whether a patent application has already been filed for the invention. The user can enter text phrases from a patent or the registration number of a patent. The Prior Art Finder then searches the Google services Patents, Scholar and Books as well as the rest of the web to find evidence that the invention is actually someone else's or has already been patented.