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June 1, 2008

Patent Retriever

Patent Retriever is a free pdf patent download site that piggybacks on Google. Because Google Patents takes too many mouse clicks, gosh darn. Patent Retriever is good for US, EU, and WIPO.

Hat tip of thanks to John Segal.

Posted by Patent Hawk at June 1, 2008 11:19 AM | Patents In Business


Promising, site, but currently buggy. The user input is a bit stiff -- for PCT apps, you have to use leading zeros, for EP, you CAN'T use leading zeros (e.g., EP 0 999 999 should be entered as EP999999). For US patents, asking for anything anything below US 4,000,000 gives you a random US patent or published application. Well, not exactly random -- when I asked for patent no. 3,999,999, I consistently got App. No. 2004/0215708. Like I said, buggy.

However, the PCT's go all the way back to 1977, which is awfully nice. Like I said, promising.

Posted by: Patent_Medicine at June 2, 2008 4:58 AM

Hi there,

I saw your comments above and thank you for pointing them out. I've fixed the leading 0 problem with EP patents. When I tested it, I didn't think people would enter the leading 0s.

For the US patents before 4,000,000, I'm still trying to work it out because apparently even Google Patents can't retrieve patents earlier than this.

But do feel free to give me any more feedback on the bugs you find. The only way it can be better is by people finding it out.

Posted by: James Wan at June 2, 2008 6:32 AM

Why not offer formatting instructions, below the data entry window, like the EPO and the UK IPO do on their respective sites. For the UK, you need the zero's on the front, but not for the EPO. Hard to remember where you need them, and where not. Does Retriever do both EP A and EP B? If you input an EP A, and that case was published first as a WO in English, does Retriever revert automatically to the WO?

Posted by: MaxDrei at June 2, 2008 7:08 AM

Thanks for the suggestion.

I'm trying to make the input box smart so I dont need as many detailed instructions on the front page. So now its able to do now deal with: EP 0 999 999 or EP999999 - which are the two common ways people may enter this patent number.

As for Kind Code A or B, the B publication takes the priority and that is the one that is made available for download.

Thanks for letting me know as I work through the remaining bugs.

I'm going to add the ability for someone to search based on the PCT number in addition to the WO number.

Posted by: James Wan at June 2, 2008 8:06 AM

This is great, thank you!!

Posted by: Patent_Medicine at June 3, 2008 5:14 AM

I just used this tool and encountered a wrong patent when retrieving a US patent. One thing I noticed when directly using Google Patent search is that, while the first link from the search results is most often the entered patent number, this is not always the case; sometimes you have to go down the link list to find the correct patent. I have not looked at the Google page HTML to see if the number is embedded in the link, but it is displayed on the text under the link.

Posted by: GratefullyExExaminer at June 4, 2008 5:16 AM

Hi GratefullyExExaminer,

Can you provide an exmaple of what you searched for?


Posted by: James Wan at June 4, 2008 10:30 PM


Try US5525791. It will get 6260763. When I use Google Patent search for 5525791 the search results list starts as follows:


As you can see, the patent that Retriever fetched was the first on the list, which was not the search subject. The latter, in this case, was the second in the list. Since I don't actually know the code used by Retriever I can only suspect that it is simply grabbing the the first link blindly. This is usually correct, but, as this case presents, is not infallable. The example for which I based my prior comment here (which, alas, I can't recall, although I used the link on Retriever to report it) had the correct link fourth on the list.

Assuming that my surmise about the way the software is grabbing the link is correct then it will need to be modified by inspecting the link (or the plain text following the link in green) to check that the actual patent referenced by the link is the correct patent, and, if not, to look at following links until the correct one is found.


Posted by: GratefullyExExaminer at June 5, 2008 3:11 AM

Hi GratefullyExExaminer,

Thanks for the suggestion.

It should be working properly now after I did a few tweaks. Just tested it on US5525791 which works. So it should get it right the first time every time now for US patents.

Posted by: James Wan at June 8, 2008 2:57 AM


Has there been any further problems with Patent Retriever http://www.patentretriever.com? I think its running fine 99% of the time ??

Posted by: TomSnyder at July 10, 2008 2:15 AM