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United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)

Number of records: 4,178,196
Years covered: 1976-2010


For over 200 years, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has been processing and disseminating patent and trademark applications and information to promote an understanding of intellectual property protection and to facilitate the development and sharing of new technologies worldwide. The office is a federal agency in the Department of Commerce and employs over 6,500 full time staff.


Patent data prior to 1996 was made available by Steven A.Morris. Patent data from 1996 to present is available as one zipped file for each weekly issue, beginning with week 36 of 1996. Within each zip file, the data appears in PTO Green Book format as concatenated 81-character, fixed-length, linefeed-terminated ASCII records. Each file is approximately 2 to 3 MB zipped, and unzips to a single 20 to 30 MB ASCII file. It is available for download from the USPTO ftp server. Patent updates are released once a week on Tuesday. The data is available in XML format. 

Data Fields

The SDB USPTO data dictionary is here.


The SDB USPTO data is current through Jun 2010.


Duplicate titles and even abstracts are common in the data, as companies may use a template for related patent submissions.


We thank Steven A.Morris (formerly with Electrical and Computer Engineering, Oklahoma State University) for making patent data prior to 1996 available to us and for his guidance in parsing and analyzing the data. This data set description was compiled by Nianli Ma and Katy Börner.


  • Google Patent Search covers the entire collection of patents made available by the USPTO--from patents issued in the 1790s through those issued in the middle of 2010. It does not currently include patent applications, international patents, or U.S. patents issued over the last few months, but Google looks forward to expanding coverage in the future.
  • PatentLens is a worldwide, open-access, free full-text patent informatics resource. It serves as the cyberinfrastructure platform for the Initiative for Open Innovation (IOI).

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