Wednesday, December 13

Google launches patent search

Google has launched a patent search engine. While the U.S. Patent Office has a nice search engine, it doesn't allow you to search the full text of patents filed between 1790 and 1975. The fact that Google now indexes the text in those patents is a wonderful thing. Previously you'd have to familiarize yourself with the vast number of patent classifications to try and focus in on interesting items.

I'm personally fascinated with the illustrations in turn of the century patent fillings. I've wasted many an hour browsing old documents for unique design patents. The new search engine won't necessarily reduce the amount of time I spend looking, but it will improve the quality of the results.

The new search also allows you to narrow your query to specific time frames, which should help anyone looking for historic documents. You can also easily scroll through patents and zoom in on pages. This display is much easier to use than the U.S. Patent Service offering, which require a plug-in to view TIFF images.

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