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Google Launches Patent Search

The service covers 7 million patents granted by the USPTO since the 1790s, but at the moment does not include patents filed over the last few months.

Would-be inventors can now check the originality of their ideas through Google's new patent-search service.

Launched in beta on Wednesday, the site lets users search U.S. patents by inventor, filing data, keyword, or patent number. Users can also view and zoom in on images and text of the original patents.

The patent home page randomly displays five images of inventions. A recent visit showed underwear, display devices, a skateboard, an input device for use with a computer, and a device for cooling an infant's brain.

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office also offers online patent search. Google's offering, however, takes advantage of its proprietary algorithms and technology used in the company's book search service.

The latest service covers 7 million patents granted by the USPTO since the 1790s. The index does not include patents filed over the last few months, but "we look forward to expanding our coverage in the future," Google said. The company also plans to support foreign languages, and to add patents filed in other countries.

Google had offered saving and printing features, but said in a note at the bottom of its blog that they were removed. "We're still working on that," the company said.

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