A World of Patent Information for Entrepreneurs

Simple Patent Searching Tutorial

Patent research is an important first step in inventing.  Before you hire a professional searcher, you can do some of the research on our own.  Doing your own preliminary searching doesn’t just save you money, it can also open new avenues for your inventing.

Below is a video we created that will teach you the basics of patent research, in particular, using patent classification in your research.  In our own research, we rely heavily on patent classification to get better, more thorough search results.   However, it’s difficult to do good classification-based research without specialized tools.  Nevertheless, you should make an attempt get to know the classifications associated with your invention.


Staying organized throughout your search is key to making it a worthwhile effort.  Use this worksheet to track your search: MS Word and PDF.  You might also want to use a spreadsheet to make it easier to organize and sort through references and classifications.

Patent Search Websites

We recommend trying multiple websites for your patent search, including FreePatentsOnline and Google Patents.  Each site has its strong spots.  For example, FPO is better at presenting results based on relevancy, but Google is better at showing pictures.

Classification Research

International Patent Classification (IPC) can be found at the WIPO website.   Please note, a new system of classification is coming that will used by the USPTO and European Patent Office.  It will be based on IPC, but it will be more granular.  Here is an article about the changes.

We can’t emphasize enough that classification is core to thorough patent research.  Patents can use all sorts of different language in their descriptions.  Sometimes this is unintended.  Sometimes it’s deliberate.  Either way, a patent with obscure, illogical language should still be classified properly.  So as long as you’re searching in classifications, you can find it.

Keyword and Synonyms

Another core principle is to search using different many synonyms and combinations for the features of your invention.  This will also help you get around the tricks that people use to make their patents harder to find.