Espacenet Worldwide Patents
This is the single, most comprehensive, free patent database available on the internet. The European Patent Office has developed a worldwide patent database of over 70 million patents from over 80 countries, many with full-text page images, available at no charge. Formerly, this database was known as esp@cenet.
The starting date varies greatly by country, with the earliest being 1836 for the United States. The availability of any given field also varies greatly by county and time period. For example, only about 50% of the patents have a title field and only 33% have an English abstract. Please review the Coverage of the Worldwide Publications [Patents] for details.We recommend you consult the International Patent Classification Manual before beginning your search.
This site permits downloading of the full-text of entire patents with a single command, including U.S. patents. To print or download the full-text, click on the patent title from any search result listing. Then click on the Original documents link on the left. Until one downloads the patent text, one can only print a single page at a time. To download the entire patent text, click on the Download link directly above and to the right of the displayed text. Do NOT use your browser's print, download, or save commands.
A useful guide to the patent procedures and numbering systems used by different countries is the publicly available, 2007 edition of the Derwent global patent sources: an overview of international patents.
For more information and help:
- An introduction to the database of ideas (PDF - 360 KB)
- Searching using classifications (PDF - 600 KB)
Varies by country, oldest is 1836 for U.S. patents.