5 Free and Possibly More Efficient Alternatives to Google Patents

Alternative to Google Patents

A Google Patents search requires the searcher to create complex keyword strings and sift through thousands of documents to find relevant prior art. 

In addition, some users are skeptical about using Google products due to a lack of trust and privacy issues. Although Google boasts strong security features, some doubts can remain: will my idea stay confidential if I run it through the Google Patents search portal

If you’re looking for an alternative to the Google Patents search portal for any of these reasons, you’ve hit the bull’s eye.

In this article, we’ll walk you through five free alternatives to Google Patents :

  1. PQAI—Patent Quality through Artificial Intelligence
  2. Lens 
  4. USPTO
  5. Espacenet

PQAI – Patent Quality through Artificial Intelligence

PQAI is an open-source library of patent tools. It offers a prior art search engine that accepts the invention query in plain English, making it simple for inventors to use. In addition, PQAI is AI-powered—it returns limited yet most relevant results. 

With PQAI, users can search a vast data set of ~11 million US patents and applications & ~11.5 million scholarly articles in engineering and computer science.



Input Query

Google Patents requires the inventor to create complex keyword search strings, which can be time-consuming. Instead, PQAI understands the query in plain English, allowing for a faster and more seamless search .

Time Efficiency

PQAI is a real timesaver because:

  • Its AI fetches more relevant results.
  • Searchers can nudge the AI to bring more relevant results by pressing the “More Like This” button.
  • PQAI shows matching text from patent documents to make it easy to choose which document to read further.
  • In addition, the text matching is not just literal word-by-word, but its AI understands the intent of the search query. The AI also makes sure to include various synonyms of keywords present in the search query for a more inclusive search.

Security and Confidentiality

PQAI ensures your privacy by never logging any of your search queries or results.

Combinational Prior Art Search

PQAI allows the users to conduct a combinational prior art search. In such a search, PQAI shows a group of patents that indicate the inventive concept is not novel. Such a search helps the inventors to refine their ideas, reducing the probability of Section 103 patent rejections.


  • PQAI is an evolving collaborative initiative; it requires a community effort to create a world-class patent search portal to accelerate innovation and improve patent quality.


Lens is a patent search engine that provides free access to patents published across various technologies. Its search interface is exhaustive and complex—not an excellent choice for inventors.


  • Offers a search service for over 140 million patent records and other academic datasets.
  • Offers extremely fine-grained advanced search filters.
  • Offers a search in pending patent applications as well.


  • The interface is quite exhaustive with tons of search filters, making it more suitable for expert patent professionals who work on complex patent projects like landscaping.


Offered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), PATENTSCOPE is a worthy contender as a Google Patents replacement. Overall, PATENTSCOPE provides an impressive selection of resources that will help you stay up-to-date on the latest trends in technology innovation and licensing agreements.

WithPATENTSCOPE, you can narrow your patent searches using meta-level filters in over 100 million patents globally. It’s a search engine technology that’s available for free around the world. 

It’s a one-stop shop for patent search and research, offering a wide range of features, such as detailed patent descriptions, abstracts, images, and citations.


  • Allows searching for patents in languages other than English.
  • Provides instant translations of non-English patents.
  • Offers a chemical structure-based search. 
  • Allows downloading the results in Excel format.
  • Educates readers with tips and tricks to make the most of the search engine.


  • Requires the user to create a complex combination of fields to conduct the search.


While widely used, there  are many weaknesses to the USPTO search interface, including a lack of filters for specific topics, limited results based on keyword relevance, and slow loading times. These problems can make it challenging to find the information you’re looking for quickly and efficiently.

Additionally, the data presented in the search results is comprehensive, but challenging to understand or use. The tables often contain too many columns and rows, which makes it difficult to focus on specific information.



  • This database contains more than 1 million patent records as of June 2018.
  • Allows searching in patents as well as patent applications using ~50 different fields.


  • Its search interface is complex and highly outdated. 
  • There’s no mobile app currently available. 


Espacenet is a European patent database with over 130 million patents, including both granted and pending patents. 

Espacenet offers free access to information about inventions and technical developments from 1782 to today. It was developed by the European Patent Office (EPO) together with the member states of the European Patent Organization. Most member states have an Espacenet service in their national languages and access to the EPO’s worldwide database, most of which is in English.


  • Allows high-quality instant translation of non-English patents for over 30 languages.
  • Allows users to jump between results to review technical drawings for a quicker search.
  • Gives insightful data about inventors, applicants, and technology fields.


  • Requires users to create complex keyword search strings.

The Verdict

There are a few different alternatives to Google Patents that you may want to consider, but PQAI offers a very promising option. The PQAI search has many unique features to make it easier to use, compared to traditional search engines:

  • PQAI’s natural language interface enables inventors to describe their inventions using simple sentences.
  • PQAI displays only a limited set of results per search query. This makes the search process more straightforward and less time-consuming. Searchers may ask the system for “more like this” or “more like the save” to get more documents relevant to the search query.
  • PQAI guides researchers and helps you avoid Section 103 rejections.
  • Users can save relevant documents and incorporate them into a report for sharing with a patent attorney or evaluator to make the patent prosecution process more efficient.
  • PQAI protects users’ privacy by not storing searches after each session, instead saving documents and reports on the user’s computer.

Patent Quality through Artificial Intelligence (PQAI) is MORE THAN Just a Search Engine

PQAI is a not-for-profit organization that develops an open-source AI-based library of software components to speed innovation and boost patent quality

The flexibility and innovation of open-source software makes PQAI a leader in the patent ecosystem.

Committed to security, privacy and unbridled innovation, PQAI empowers all inventors with sophisticated IP tools to fuel their success and creativity.

Team PQAI has already built five applications to ease your patent search:

  1. Prior art search engine: Uses AI to pick limited most relevant prior art references. It also offers a combinational prior art search to reduce the probability of Section 103 patent rejections. Allows users to save results, generate prior art reports for patent prosecution discussion with a patent attorney, get insights on patenting trends and  more.
  2. CPCs look up: Lists the IPC/CPC codes based on the technology described in the search query.
  3. Art unit predictor: Tells the art unit the invention may fall into at the patent office. Different art units have different patent rejection statistics; applicants may wish to describe the inventive technology in a way that aligns it with a favorable art unit.
  4. Concept extractor: An invention might encompass multiple technical concepts. For instance, a coffee pot that keeps your coffee warm will have a temperature sensor, heating element, etc. While conducting a prior art search, you might want to get more ideas for  encompassing concepts.
  5. Keyword generator: Let’s say the main keyword is beer. Related keywords could be beverage, malt beverage, fermented beverage, alcoholic beverage, wine, drink, etc. While conducting the prior art search, this generator provides additional related keywords for a more comprehensive search.

The open-source nature of the PQAI project promises many more applications today and in the future to help patent professionals, corporations, and inventors. Visit PQAI to learn more.

Recommended Posts

No comment yet, add your voice below!

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.