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Celebrating the Life

Patent Searching

  1. Purpose and Instructions
  2. Introduction
  3. Brainstorming
  4. Index Search
  5. Classification Codes
  6. Classification Definitions
  7. Patent Review
  8. Keyword Searching
  9. Conclusion

Keyword Searching

If you are still having trouble finding a term that adequately matches your invention in the Index to the U.S. Classification System or can't find the right code in the Manual of Classification, you can do a keyword search. However, only patents since 1976 can be searched by keyword.
  1. Go back to the USPTO's home page ( From the Patents dropdown menu, click on the link titled Patent Process.

  2. Screenshot of USPTO homepage.
  3. On that page, click on the link titled Search for Patents.
  4. Screenshot of USPTO Patent Process page.

  5. Finally, under Searching Full Text Patents (Since 1976), click on the link titled Advanced Search.
  6. Screenshot of USPTO patent search page.

  7. In the Query box, type in your search terms. For our invention we enter "computer mouse" in the query box (be sure to include quotation marks around the search terms in this instance). This will return a list of all the patents that have "computer mouse" anywhere in the indexed text. (For more information on how to perform an advanced search, click on the "Help" button at the top of the page. Then click on the "How to Use the Advanced Search Page" link).

  8. Screenshot of patent search page.
  9. Click on a patent number. You may notice that some patent numbers have a "D" before the number. This indicates that the patent is one of design instead of utility. Focus on the Abstracts, Current U.S. class and subclass numbers, and the claims. In fact, this is often a good time to go back to the Manual of Classification to see the context or a particular class/subclass. And finally, don't forget to look at the drawings. These are often a surefire way to determine your invention's uniqueness.

Screenshot of patent search results.


9. Conclusion ------->