Google Patent Search, Does No Evil?
Google has now released a Patent Search service, located at http://www.google.com/patents. We’ve had a few minutes to run the service through the gauntlet, and here are our thoughts.
This service is free, and free is always good. The default screen also allows a simple keyword search of over 7 million patents (or so they say). The keyword search appears to look at both titles and the text of the specification, which is a nice feature. The interface is the standard Google search interface, and appears to be very user-friendly.
Digging a little deeper, the advanced service allows a search of patent numbers, titles, inventors, assignees, U.S. classifications, international classifications, issue dates (in a range), and filing dates (in a range). We would have liked to have seen, however, the advanced service allow selective searching of claims, abstracts, and specifications.
When a search is performed, a patent summary is provided allowing a view (non-pdf) of each page and also a view of all drawings. In more recently filed cases, the claims and a list of patents referenced by is also provided. Another notable feature we’ve seen in our brief review is a text searching function that pinpoints particular pages in the document where a term or phrase can be found.
Unfortunately, there does not appear to be a function that allows one to download a pdf or print a patent. Also, the database appears to be limited to U.S. patents, and not U.S. publications or foreign patents and publications. These are my primary gripes about the service, and maybe they’ll be added in subsequent versions.
At the end of the day, it is certainly nice to drop a new patent tool in the toolbox. We may try it out a few times in upcoming matters to see if it is worth using on a more regular basis, and we will post further on the subject if we have any further thoughts.