Foreign Patent Searching Guide

A quick guide to searching patents at various international patent office.

Tutorials for Foreign Patent Searching

From EPO (European Patent Office):

From WIPO (The World Intellectual Property Organization):

From the USPTO's Office of the Administrator for Policy and External Affairs:

Multiple Country Sites

For use in the library only:

  • PubWEST Patent Abstracts of the EPO (European Patent Office) and JPO (Japan Patent Office) - library use only.
  • PubWEST Foreign Patent Image access - library use only.

Available on the Internet:

  • Espacenet --  The European Patent Office's (EPO) network of patent databases. Includes Japanese patents, most with English abstracts. Recently extended coverage to Latin American countries (Chile, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Panama) and added legal status data for Russian, Polish and Chinese patents. Creates groups of all international patents issued for a single invention. EPO also publishes the quarterly Patent Information News in English, French, and German.
  • Five IP Offices (IP5) -- Describes collaborative projects of the European (EPO), Japan (JPO), Korean (KIPO), Chinese (SIPO), and United States (USPTO) Patent/Intellectual Property Offices.
  • Global Patent Search Network - Search the full text of multiple international patent collections. Includes published applications, granted patents and utility models from1985 to 2012. Initially offers only Chinese patents with other countries to follow. Provides English machine translations and full document images.
  • JPO Patent and Utility Model Concordance - See also other helpful links about Japanese patents from the Industrial Property Digital Library (IPDL).
  • Patent Prosecution Highway (PPH) - "Speeds up the examination process for corresponding applications filed in participating countries by allowing examiners to reuse search and examination results."
  • Patent Scope - World Intellectual Property (WIPO) international patent search database. Makes available online bibliographic data, international application status reports, priority documents and published PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) applications in image format. Also contains the text of description and claims for applications published in English, French, German (and full-text patents), Spanish, Russian, and Japanese. See also WIPO publications for help in searching and accessing technology through patents. Now includes U.S. patents from 1WIPO790 to the present. See also the WIPO Magazine for intellectual property articles with a world perspective.Try the new translation tool, TAPTA (Translation Assistant for Patent Titles and Abstracts).
  • PCT Applicant's Guide - WIPO guide for filing a Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) (international system) application
  • PCT information page - Scroll to the bottom for helpful resources and contact information.
  • PCT, Protecting Your Inventions Abroad: Frequently Asked Questions about the Patent Cooperation Treaty.
  • -- Free federated search portal containing the electronic libraries of thirteen leading science and technology societies. Includes 150 years of peer-reviewed journal articles and conference proceedings. Offers full-text articles searchable by article title or author name. Researchers at institutions with subscriptions to the content are automatically authenticated and can access the content directly. Also offers a pay-per-view option for researchers at institutions who do not subscribe to the content. Patent researchers can use a keyword search to locate patents on Esp@cenet, the Japan Patent Office, and the USPTO.
  • The Lens (formerly Patent Lens) - Contains free world-wide full-text patent resources maintained by the Australian independent, non-profit research institute, Cambia. Special features include patent families, full-text searching of Chinese patents independent of language, and patent landscapes that "integrate volumes of specialized patent data around particular topics." Search patents for over 80 million DNA and protein sequences using the  Lens Sequence Project. Provides a choice of a search interface in Chinese, English, Russian, and French plus a full text search in additional languages for patents or patent applications. For US patents only Advanced Search allows you to search by predicted expiry date and also by lapsed date.
  • Trilateral Web Site -- Joint web site of the European Patent Office, the Japanese Patent Office, and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  • USPTO List of Other Intellectual Property Offices
  • Concordance, U.S. Patent Classification (USPC) to International Patent Classification (IPC)

Specific Country Sites:

  • British Library Patent Resources -- Comprehensive collection of international pages from 1855 to the present about intellectual property issues. Also contains links to various countries' intellectual property websites. See also Searching for Historical British Patents.
  • Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) - Includes:
    • Canadian Patents Database
    • Contains Text (Abstract and Claims) Databases begining with Aug. 15, 1978, Image Databases beginning with Jan. 1, 1920, and Bibliographic (Titles, Names, Dates, and Classification) Databases beginning with Jan. 1, 1869.
    • Canadian Industrial Designs
    • Searchable database containing industrial designs from 1861-present . Also contains images.
  • German Patent Information System (DEPATIS) -- Search patents and trademarks from around the world.  Can choose to display as a PDF. Offers the following searches: beginner, expert, IKOFAX (internal language query), assisted, and patent family.
  • IPAIRS (India) - Search granted patents and applications, an agent register, and application status.


See also the Patent Searching Guide for U.S. Patents

URLs to Files from old site