Google is boosting its patents search service this week with the news that it’s adding 11 more national patent offices to the mix.
First launched in 2006, Google Patents initially only worked with searches through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), but it was expanded to cover the European Patent Office (EPO) in 2012, followed a year later by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the respective patent offices for Germany, Canada, and China.
The purpose of patent search engines is to help budding entrepreneurs, inventors, or anyone working on new products establish whether anyone else has already filed for patents in the same field and determine whether they’re duplicating something that’s already been done. It’s also a useful tool for patent examiners to research “prior art” (existing inventions) when assessing a patent application.
Google Patents has now been given its biggest expansion to date, with users able to search for patents and applications from the U.K., Japan, South Korea, France, Spain, Belgium, Russia, Finland, the Netherlands, Denmark, and Luxembourg. As with its other local patent archives, the new collection is searchable in English as well as the source language, thanks to the smarts of Google Translate.