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Google's Search For Patents

Google today rolled out a new search to add to the pile. In a blog post, the company said Google Patent Search is a natural extension of its mission to make public domain government information more easily accessible.

And you can use it to find patents for historic inventions such as adhesive tape or contact lenses. There's even a patent for a shark protector suit, Google said.

In addition to the regular search box, users can conduct advanced searches, which allow users to search by criteria, including patent number, inventor, and filing date.

Google said that Patent Search uses the same technology that powers Google Book Search, so users can scroll through pages and zoom in on texts and illustrations.

But good luck using Google Patent Search to find Google's own patent, which the U.S. Patent Office awarded the company earlier this week. Google said it indexed over 7 million patents. But so far, U.S. Patent number D533,561, is not among them.

But there is a reason for this, Google spokeswoman Katie Watson told internetnews.com. The latest Google patent is missing because so far, the index only includes patents awarded midway through 2006. Eventually, Watson said, the index will be more regularly crawled, but just not yet.

Google brought the perhaps incomplete product out this early, she said, because there were so many easy to read documents already online.

USPO spokeswoman Bridget Quinn told internetnews.com the disclosure of patent information is one of the three goals outlined in the office's mission statement. She said her organization applauds Google for it efforts.

Google's patent for "the ornamental design for graphical user interface" is available elsewhere online. Find it using U.S. Patent Office's site search, or visit Pat2Pdf.org to download a .pdf version. Sketches from the patent, filed on March 24, 2004, show Google's familiar user interface, from search results to sponsored links.