Report:Google Patent Search/Major Recent Updates

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Major Recent Updates

See the Intellogist update policies for more information.

July 2015

Google released a new version of Google Patents which includes support for Google Scholar and Google Translate. The search results view has also been updated so that results are clustered around CPC classifications.

For more information see:

September 2013

In September of 2013, Google augmented coverage to include collections from China, Germany, Canada, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). Full text English machine translations are also present for these collections (when applicable). In-depth coverage information is not immediately available.

For more information see:

January 2013

Improvements seem to have been made to the layout of EP patent records on Google Patents, including:

  • Options to view the application or granted version of the record.
  • Option to view the record in additional languages, such as English, French, and German.
  • Display of available drawings at the top of the record.
  • Bibliographic data in a side menu, including links to alternate publications of the record, links to view related documents with the same inventors, applicants, or IPC classes, and external links (such as the record on Espacenet or the EP Register).
  • Description and Claims organized into separate columns.

The full record on Google Patents for an EP document.

November 2012

The following changes have been made to the Google Patents hit list:

  • All filter options are now available in a horizontal menu above search results.
  • Users must select the "Search Tools" option to view all available filter tools (filter by date, patent office (US or EP), filing status, patent type, and sort by relevance or filing date).
  • Grid configuration is no longer available.
  • For each result, users can select "Overview" (full record), "Related" (link to Prior Art Finder tool), or "Discuss" (link to "Ask Patents").

New layout of the Google Patents hit list, with filtering tools in a horizontal toolbar and links to Overview, Related, and Discuss for each result.

October 2012

EP documents now appear to be included in Google Patents search results.

August 2012

EP documents and the "Prior Art Finder" tool have been added to Google Patents.

The Prior Art Finder "identifies key phrases from the text of the patent, combines them into a search query, and displays relevant results from Google Patents, Google Scholar, Google Books, and the rest of the web."[1]

April 2012

According to an announcement on the Google Offical Blog:[2]

We're redirecting the old Patent Search homepage to to make sure everyone is getting the best possible experience for their patent searches. Over the past few months, we've been making updates and improvements to the Patent Search functionality on—not only are you able to search the same set of U.S. patents with the same advanced search options, the new experience loads twice as fast as the old Patent Search homepage, contributes to a unified search experience across Google, and sports Google Doodles as well. The team looks forward to including patents from other countries soon, and will be rolling out additional features to Patent Search on in the future.

August 2011

Results can now be viewed in List and Grid configurations. Both results views include representative drawing thumbnails. Grid configuration approximates the old "Cover view."

May 2011

Cover view has been eliminated from Google Patents and the search page has been integrated into the plethora of other search options available through Google (e.g. Everything, Images, Videos, News, and Shopping).

April 2010

A minor update to the system changed the display format of "Cover view" (the thumbnail view) as well as adding a results per page user preference to the Advanced Search form.

September 2009

A minor update to the system in September 2009 added a "Thumbnail View" for full patent documents and a "Feedback" button to report problems with document images.

July 2009

A July 2009 update to the system introduced an enhanced layout for individual search results and for searching within each document:

  • First, two "buttons" which used to occupy a smaller portion of the results page, "Read this patent" and "Download PDF," have been enlarged, re-designed, and moved to the top of the results page. The "Search this patent" bar has been given a more prominent position directly under the front page thumbnail image on the top-left of the screen. The functionality of this feature has also been enhanced as described below.
  • The text of the patent abstract and claims are no longer shown in the original side-by-side layout; instead, the sections appear sequentially: abstract on top, followed by citations, claims, and thumbnail drawing images. Users can still select hyperlinks on the top-left corner of the page to jump to particular patent sections.
  • Searching within a single patent document has also been enhanced. The search function used to give a results list which consisted only of blue hyperlinks; now the results list actually shows a rectangular image snippet from the patent containing the highlighted search term in context. Selecting the hyperlinked page number above the image will navigate to the full page.
  • Finally, after this type of search has been performed, the locations of the keyword search terms are now graphically represented in the full document. A series of colored bars on the right side of the screen represents the keyword hits. Selecting any of the bars will navigate to the page where those hits are located. Hovering over one of the bars will pop up a keyword-in-context display. The bars are blue by default but turn yellow when the user is viewing the area represented by the bar.

Late 2008

In later 2008, a feature that allows users to limit the search to certain types of patent documents was added to the Advanced Search page of the product. For example, users can now limit the search to plant patents, reissues, or X patents (pre-1836 patents).

Early 2008

A 2008 update has added thumbnail viewing as an option when displaying the hit list. This option displays the hit results as thumbnail images of the first drawings page and also gives the user pop up information when the user mouses over a specific thumbnail. The pop up information includes the title of the patent, the year of issuance, and the assignee if available. See the The Hit List section of this article for more information.

Updates since 2006

Google Patent Search (once simply called "Google Patents") has remained in beta testing phase since its introduction in 2006. When the service was introduced, printing and PDF copy saving features were not quite ready to go live, but these have since been activated. A tool that allows users to copy and embed a portion of a patent image into a blog or web page has also been added since the launch.


  1. "Improving Google Patents with European Patent Office patents and the Prior Art Finder." Google Research Blog. Google website, Accessed on August 15, 2012.
  2. "Spring-cleaning … in spring!" Google Official Blog, Accessed April 24, 2012.
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