Google hosts ten terabytes of patents for the US patent office
Google has announced that it is hosting ten terabytes of data on patents in co-operation with the US Patents and Trademarks Office (USPTO). Google says that although patent information can be searched for on the USPTO site or with Google Patent Search "sometimes that's not enough" because it is hard to analyse the patent data in any depth or to identify trends in patenting. To enable people to dig deeper into patents (and trademarks), it is useful to have the complete set of data.
In the past the USPTO only shipped patent data on physical media and the relatively high attached cost has proved to be prohibitive for many prospective users. For example, the non-profit group Cambia has spent "hundreds of thousands of dollars" on acquiring the data to power its PatentLens navigable and search-able patent database
Now, Google and the USPTO are working together to make the data available to download for free at http://www.google.com/googlebooks/uspto.html. This includes, for patents, the full text, bibliography and images of patents granted, applications, assignments and other patent related material dating back to 1976 and for trademarks, grants and applications dating back to 1870. Google plans to expand the collection of data over time to include file histories and other related information.