Patents are legal titles protecting inventions. They offer a temporary private right to the holder of the invention who can prevent others from using his patented invention. Following are key sources to search for patents. They usually provide access to the full-text.


  • Esp@cenet is the patent database of the European Patent Office. The database contains 45 million patent documents from around the world (mainly applications rather than granted patents). Coverage is extensive; for example, Swiss patents in facsimile go back to 1888, starting with patent CH1.

    Open database

  • The database is made available by the Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property. It contains Swiss and European patents in effect in Switzerland and Lichtenstein. This includes patents which are in force as well as patents which have been cancelled. Included are Swiss patents filed after January 1978 and European patents in effect in Switzerland after the number 00 000 001.

    Open database

  • The Lens, the flagship project of the social enterprise Cambia, seeks to source, merge and link diverse open knowledge sets, including scholarly works and patents, to inform discovery, analysis, decision making and partnering on a human-centered user experience built on an open web platform,, with toolkits designed to optimize institutional effectiveness in problem solving.

    The Lens at its core is an aggregator of metadata, combining three unique content sets and one management tool as a base offering. This base supports the four primary functions of the Lens, which are to discover, analyse, manage and share knowledge:

    • Scholarly Works: Discovery and analytics tools providing access to a global corpus of scholarly literature metadata with citation indexing.
    • Patents: Discovery and analytics tools on a comprehensive collection of patent literature with citation indexing.
    • PatSeq: A facility to search and analyse biological sequences disclosed in patent literature.
    • Collections: A management tool to track, monitor, and analyse a collection of works or a collection of patents dynamically or statically.

    Open database

  • The Derwent Innovations Index searches more than 14 million patent records, many with links to the full-text. Patents are from 40 worldwide patent-issuing authorities including the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the European Patent Office and the Japanese Patent Office. Searches retrieve records from 1963 to the present, but coverage varies among patent authorities. Derwent divides patents into 3 broad areas: chemical, electrical & electronics, and engineering. Abstracts of patents are rewritten to make it more apparent whether or not a particular patent would be applicable to your work. In addition, the database contains citing and cited patents and literature references, allowing users to move both forward and backward in time.

    Open database

  • CAS SciFinder-n
    A next generation scientific research solution providing access to a comprehensive collection of chemical reactions, substances, and scientific literature incl. patents curated by expert scientists.

    Access to the CAS SciFinder Discovery Platform is provided through Single Sign-On. To log in, enter your email address followed by your SWITCHaai credentials. If you have any questions or need assistance, please reach out to @email.

    Open database

  • IPscreener is a tool designed to assist researchers explore the intellectual property landscape and discover the knowledge of hidden patents.

    IPscreener uses artificial intelligence to provide access to a vast array of patent and trademark information, enabling researchers to validate innovation ideas, while avoiding spending resources reinventing existing technology. By providing comprehensive insights into the world of intellectual property, IPscreener can streamline the innovation process and help users keep up with the latest global industry trends. Please refer to the documentation for more details.

    To obtain an account, please contact us at

  • Google Patent Search covers the entire collection of issued US patents issued (approximately 7 million) and over a million patent applications made available by the United States Patent and Trademark Office — USPTO from patents issued in the 1790s through those most recently issued in the past few months. It does not cover international patents, only US patents. Full-text search and download of patents is possible.

    Open database

Note that sometimes free web resources can be ineffective for searching. The licensed databases «Derwent Innovation Index» (interdisciplinary) and «SciFinder-n» (chemistry) may then be better suited.