Patents - patent documents

Patent documents, published by national, regional or international Patent Offices, contain information about inventions for which a patent is being sought or has already been granted, or for which a utility model has been registered. Each year, more than one million patent documents are published worldwide. Studies have shown that only a small proportion of inventions are described in sources other than the patent literature. This is why patent information is such an indispensable means of acquiring knowledge about the state of the art, vital for driving forward innovation processes

Where can you search for patent documents?


  • Free Patent Database of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA)
  • Special feature: Search in German full text


  • Free Patent Database of the European Patent Office (EPO)
  • Special feature: free access to more than 100 million patent documents


  • Licensed patent database of the provider Questel for members of Leibniz University
  • Special feature: patent family-oriented search in bibliographic data and full texts with legal status information


  • free portal of the TIB for specialist information on technology and natural sciences
  • Special feature: free search in more than 100 million data sets on non-patent literature (NPL) and on 13 million patent documents of the last 7 years in a common index   

How can you search for patent documents?

The formal search for patents is usually carried out with the patent number or patent applicant or inventor.

The thematic search includes the search for terms from title, abstract, full text.

In addition, classifications should be taken into account in a thematic search. The most frequently used classification is the International Patent Classification (IPC).

A brief introduction can be found on the website of the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA).

Examples of patent searches in the TIB portal

  • Searching for the IPC Classification Symbol for Milling

Further Information

The PIZ Niedersachsen offers support in research and information on industrial property rights and the patent system.


Claudia Todt

Head of PIZ Niedersachsen
Mechanical Engineering, Patents and Standards

Lesesaal Patente und Normen
Fax: +49 511 762-19130