Google Launches Patent Search Beta

One of theInternet’s leading innovators is offering a helping hand to other innovators.

Google on Wednesday introduced a new Web site that facilitates searches for U.S. patents by keyword, patent number, inventor and filing data.

“We’ve all heard about the Wright brothers, Thomas Edison, and Alexander Graham Bell — famous inventors whose creative minds changed the course of history,” Google Software Engineer Doug Banks says in his blog.

“But there are many more like them,” he continues, “and millions of inventions that have been patented in the U.S. alone — from useful everyday items such as adhesive tape and contact lenses, to things useful in specific situations — like this shark protector suit or this amusement device incorporating simulated cheese and mice.”

Another Google Beta

Google Patent Search is still in the beta stage, but it offers users the ability to search the full text of the U.S. patent corpus to find those that interest them. An “Advanced Patent Search” page allows users to drill down to specific criteria, including patent number, inventor and filing date.

Google Patent Search uses much of the same technology that powers Google Book Search, letting users scroll through pages and zoom in on text and illustrations.

“It’s a natural extension of our mission to make this public domain government information more easily accessible using Google’s search technology,” Banks said. “We’re pleased to have started with over 7 million patents granted by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, and look forward to expanding our coverage over time.”

User Friendliness

Google’s goal with Patent Search is apparently to make U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and related information published by the government for public consumption more usable to the lay searcher, according to Sterling Market Intelligence Principal Analyst Greg Sterling.

“Searching the USPTO site is a painful process,” he told TechNewsWorld. “This does make patent search much more user-friendly. The question is how reliable it is. This is going to be a helpful tool for entrepreneurs and others who are involved in filing and researching patents, but it’s probably not going to be totally exhaustive.”

For many, the Google brand name has become the front door to the Internet, he added, so expanding databases and adding search capabilities further Google’s core mission of organizing the world’s information.

Financial Opportunities

Google is known for monetizing its search platforms — as the leading paid search vendor, it generates billions each year through its pay-per-click products. Google has even monetized its e-mail program, Gmail, by serving up ads that are relevant to the content of the message.

Theoretically, Google could launch a vertical paid search platform alongside patent search results. Advertisers might include attorneys or others who offer services to inventors and entrepreneurs. However, Google does not necessarily need to monetize its patent search in order to benefit from the service, he pointed out.

“This is built on Google’s existing search technology and platform. It’s probably something that took a couple of people a short period of time to put together,” Sterling noted.

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