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Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering: Patents

General guide to resources formecahnical and aerospace engineering.

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How to search for patents

Patent vs Patent Application

There are many types of patents. To identify a patent type, one have to look at the patent number to find the kind codes. Kind codes include a letter and, in many cases, a number and are used to distinguish the kind of patent document and the level of publication. Kind codes are added at the end of a number.In order to see these codes, one have to open the pdf.

A patent application is a request pending to be granted or issued a patent. The content of patent application is different from the content of a patent. Starting with January 2, 2001, all patent applications numbers end in A1, A2, or A9.

Starting with the same date, a granted or issued patent number ends in B1 or B2

Check USPTO Kind Codes if the patent is dated before 2001 and to see all the other types of kind codes available:

Why use both Google Patents and USPTO?

Google Patents offers a fast way to find patents. However, a more comprehensive search has to be executed in USPTO databases.

Google Patents
PROS
  • easy, fast, and familiar
  • fulltext search available starting with first US patents
  • searches US, EPO, and WIPO at the same time
CONS
  • scanning errors
  • not updated regurlarly
  • includes only the first version of a patent

USPTO
PROS
  • the most complete collection of US patents
  • most up-to-date collection
  • include useful tools
CONS
  • not easy to use
  • fulltext search starts with 1976

Patents Search

Learn more about how to search for patents: