This class session is designed to provide a basic overview of US patents, the patent application process, and searching for patents using the USPTO's PatFT database and the EPO's Espacenet database. Use this guide as a reference and please Contact Us if you need further assistance.
The largest public patent database on the internet, Espacenet contains 100 million patent documents from more than 90+ countries including Canada and the U.S., plus 2 million records for non-patent literature cited in European Patent Office search reports.
All U.S. utility patents and published patent applications are indexed with CPC codes. Only Espacenet provides a platform for searching the CPC system. The USPTO does not currently allow for searching, though users can browse the system.
The page on the USPTO's site provides links to pages dedicated to filing utility, design, and plant patents as well as useful information about each patent type. Also links to information related to filing provisional patents and filing a new international patent application under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).
Many other databases also index United States patents and applications. If your intent is to conduct a thorough patent search, you should always search multiple databases, as no database will offer 100% coverage.