December 1, 2015

Legal Research: USPTO Launches Global Patent Search Network


The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has launched the Global Patent Search Network, a free service that will eventually provide translations of patents granted in multiple countries and languages—a move the agency says it hopes will make patent research easier and more comprehensive.


The PTO says the new search tool offers an additional source of foreign patent collections to the public and to the agency’s patent examiners. The immediate availability of English machine translations, even though imperfect and sometimes awkward, will allow for quick analysis of the relevancy of the prior art while reducing the need for costly human translations, [Teresa Stanek] Rea, [Acting Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Acting Director of the USPTO] said. “It provides and excellent way to determine the gist of the information in a foreign patent,” she wrote.

More from the USPTO:

As a result of cooperative effort with the State Intellectual Property Office (SIPO) of the People’s Republic of China, Chinese patent documentation is now available for search and retrieval in the inaugural release of this search network. Accessible from the USPTO website, the data available includes both full text Chinese patents and English machine translations enabling users to search Chinese patent documents in the English or Chinese language. Users can search documents including published applications, granted patents and utility models from 2008 to 2011 in this collection, which will periodically be updated with more current data.

This new search tool delivers to the public, as well as our patent examiners, an additional source of foreign patent collections. Furthermore, the immediate availability of English machine translations will effectively address the language barrier and allow for quick analysis of the relevancy of the prior art while reducing the need for costly human translations. Machine translation technology can sometimes generate awkward wording, but it provides an excellent way to determine the gist of the information in a foreign patent. As this is the initial launch of the search network, we value any suggestions you may have to help us identify future enhancements to the tool.

Direct to Global Patent Search Network

See Also: Global Patent Search Network FAQ and Documentation

Gary Price About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.

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