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Biomedical Engineering

How to Select a Patent Database

Selecting the appropriate patent database largely depends on the type of information you need. If you need to find a copy of a known patent, there are many places on the web where you can download PDFs. However, if you need to do a state-of-the-art or patentability search, here are some criteria you should considered when selecting a database.

Year coverage: Does the database included historical patents? 

Currency: How often is the database updated? Most patent offices publish new patents on a weekly basis.

Country coverage: Does the database include patents from more than one country?

Classification: Does the database include current patent classification codes from the CPC, IPC or USPC systems?

The following websites are excellent sources of information on public and commercial patent databases.

Patent Databases

Patent Document Codes

Codes used to identify the type of patent document and country of origin.

Country Codes

Code Country
CA Canada
CN China
DE Germany
FR France


Document Codes

Code Document
A Published application
B Patent
C Patent
S Design patent (US)
U Utility model