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.

How can you search for patent documents?

Patents are formally searched by entering the patent number, the patent applicant or the inventor.

Thematic search involves using terms from the title and abstract to search for the required patent documents. Classifications should also be borne in mind when conducting a thematic search.

The most frequently used classification is the International Patent Classification (IPC). A brief introduction is available on the German Patent and Trade Mark Office (DPMA) website.

Searching for patents in the TIB Portal

Patents can be searched in the same way as you search for literature. Assignment to the search boxes/index boxes:

  • Inventors are assigned to authors/creators/people/bodies
  • Applicants are assigned to institutions, sources/publishing companies
  • Patent numbers, IPC, cited patent numbers are assigned to numbers
  • The title and abstract are assigned to titles, topics/keywords
  • The year of publication remains the year of publication

The database involved here is the external source Espacenet, a European Patent Office database.

Examples of searches:

  • Search for asynchronous motors for a hybrid vehicle: ( (asynchron* AND motor*) OR H02K17) AND ((B60K6 OR "hybrid vehicle*") OR (hybridfahrz*))
  • H02K17 and B60K6 are International Patent Classification symbols.

The ORBIT (QPAT) database is available to members of Leibniz Universität Hannover.

Where can you view patents?

Staff in the Patents and Standards Reading Room (PIN) will help you search high-quality patent databases.


Hartwig Minnermann

Phone: +49 511 762-3414