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Google Patents: A Picture of the Past and Present

Business Technology | June 6, 2012

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 can even view them online by going to Google Patents.

The Wonderful World of Google Patents

You might not have heard of Google Patents, but it is really intriguing. It can offer you a peek at what the future potentially holds as you can explore patents that are issued in the U.S. There are plenty 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 simply search for things that interest you in the Google Patents search engine. Try it out, you will be surprised by 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 data. All of the information on Google Patents originates from the records of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, better known by the acronym USPTO. Google can offer 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. This means that searchers can wade through 8 million patents and 3 million patent applications through the Google-provided service.

A Patent History Lesson

Due to this huge span of time, with a little investigating, you can get an idea of technological advancements this country has made. For example, you can see the patent which was given to Alexander Graham Bell for an automatic short-circuiter for telephones in 1880. If you want see where we may be headed according to recent patents, check out Google Patents.

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