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The USPTO Website hosts searchable full text collections for US published applications and granted patents. The dates covered by the online collection are shown below:
US Granted Patents - Full text since 1976, complete images since 1790.
US Published Applications – the entire collection since its inception in March 2001.
The searchable US patent classification data in the electronic records for these documents is current and updated as a result of revisions to the US Patent Classification System. Data from 1976 back to the earliest patents from 1790 can be searched by current US classification.
Query length and allowed processing resources are limited; complex queries may fail. The system is open for public searching and patent copies may be saved from the database, but the system imposes limits to ensure that it does not become a source of bulk patent copy downloads.