Google Patents: A Picture of the Past and Present

Interested in a smartphone that flashes LED lights at you when you have an incoming call? How about a mug that looks like a crayon? Good news. Inventors have filed patents on both of these items. You are able to look at them online by going to Google Patents.

The Wonderful World of Google Patents

You may not have heard of Google Patents, but it is quite interesting. It can give you a peek at what the future potentially holds since you can explore patents that are issued in the U.S. There are lots of serious patents people have filed for, like new ways to give vaccinations. But there are plenty of silly ones as well, like an electronic pickle jar game. To find these patents you can just search for things that interest you in the Google Patents search engine. Try it out, you will be astonished at how imaginative and out there these creations can be.

Organizing the World’s Information

In describing Google Patents, Google writes that the service is part of the company’s larger mission to organize the world’s information. All of the information on Google Patents comes from the records of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, better known by the acronym USPTO. Google can present this information because all patents issued in the United States are part of the public domain. What’s most incredible about Google Patents is its breadth. The service only shows U.S. patents – not international ones – issued from the 1790s to the present. Consequently searchers can wade through 8 million patents and 3 million patent applications through the Google-provided service.

A Patent History Lesson

Because of the amount of time the site spans you can get a view of advancements in technology over a long time period. You can see the patent given to Alexander Graham Bell in 1880 for an automatic short-circuiter for telephones or the patent granted to Thomas Edison in 1889 for the incandescent electric lamp. If you wish to get a peek at where we came from and where we are going, take some time exploring Google Patents.

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