How to do an InPASS patent search in India?


Indian patents are not typically available on Google patents. The most relevant platform to search Indian patents or patent applications is InPASS (abbreviation for ‘Indian Patent Advanced Search System’), which is the official database of Indian Patent Office. InPASS patent search is an excellent patent search tool and provides features that are either at par with the Google Patents basic search and advanced search tools or are even more impactful than Google Patents search. 

You would need to access InPASS for the following 2 purposes:

1. Access a patent publication by Indian patent number or Indian patent application number 

2. Search for Indian patents or patent applications with a specific search criteria

Let’s see how to go about them:

1.  Indian patent number search or patent application number search

If you know either a granted patent’s patent number, select the tab titled ‘Patent E-register’ and enter the number to retrieve the details of the patent. If you don’t know the patent number but know the application number of a granted or non-granted patent, select the tab titled ‘Application status’ and enter the application number to retrieve the details of the patent or patent application.  

India patent search


2. Indian patent publication search with a specific search criteria: 

If you do not have a specific patent number or a patent application number, or if you are trying to search with a specific search criteria using keywords, assignee name, dates etc., you can click on the ‘patent search’ option displayed towards the left of the red box in the above image.
You will see multiple search fields that provides an exhaustive combination of criteria you can use either individually or in combination with each other to search Indian patents.
There is one limitation though – in one search attempt, you can either search for granted or non-granted publications. You cannot search for both at once. Accordingly you can start with checking mark either one (check mark the 2nd option in another search attempt) as shown from the options below:
Indian patent publication search
You may have also noted that the first column (left-most column) provides names of search fields for you to search and you can fill the values of those fields in the second column (middle column) opposite to the respective fields. If you have read this article on Advanced Google patent search, you are already familiar with many of the fields provided in InPASS – keywords, applicant/assignee name/, dates, patent office and so on. Following are some of the most commonly used search criteria:

– Search Indian patents by keywords,

– Search Indian patents by application number/patent number (discussed in point 1 but can be done here as well) and publication number

– Search Indian patents by name of assignee/applicant/inventors,

– Search Indian patents by dates (Application date/publication date/grant date/priority date – refer ‘date field’ section of this article if you don’t know what these dates mean)

– Search Indian patents by classes (note that InPASS patent search uses International Patent classification and not co-operative patent classification – if you don’t know what classes mean, these are basically technology domains into which patents are categorized)

– Find text specifically in titles/abstracts/complete specifications of patent publications (Google Patents does not allow this!)

Additional features:

There are additional search criteria that are available on InPASS but they are not as commonly used as the above-mentioned criteria. 

Search Indian patents by filing offices (Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai)

– Search Indian patents by Inventor’s or Applicant’s name, address or country 

– Search Indian patents by their PCT application number

Moving on, you can fill in the values for any of the above-mentioned search fields and continue to search. You can simply populate the values in the respective search fields and hit ‘search’.
One more thing we have not yet covered is the third column for selecting the logical operators. Well, this column basically combines more than one search fields, the way you want. There are 3 Boolean operators – AND, OR and NOT.
The AND operator mandates all the search conditions that you enter, for InPASS to search. For example, if you want to see patents from a specific company (e.g. Ford) as an applicant and using a specific keyword (e.g. ‘electric vehicles’), you need to populate the ‘complete specification’ field with your desired keyword along with populating the ‘applicant name’ field with your desired applicant name. Now, select the AND operator against the first field you populate – ‘applicant name’ in this example. This will fetch you patent publications that must include Ford as an applicant and electric vehicles in text.
If you want to select any one field (optional field), you can use the OR operator. For example, you may want to search a keyword in either the ‘title’ or ‘Abstract’. The OR operator can help you here. In the above example, if you chose the ‘OR’ operator, it would show publications with Ford as an applicant (but not limited to electric vehicles) and those that include electric vehicles (but not necessarily from Ford).
If you want to exclude a field, you can use the NOT operator. This is particularly useful when you want to explicitly leave out some keywords from your search and see the results. For example, imagine your search string is ‘dual display mobile phone’ but you do not want to see publications including touch screen phones. In this case, you can include the word ‘touchscreen’ or its synonyms in a separate field and use NOT operator to exclude them. This is normally rarely used but can be helpful sometimes.
I hope the above article was helpful in knowing how InPASS works. Do comment below if you are aware of ways in which it can be used more effectively. 
If you liked this article, please subscribe to this blog to get updates on interesting articles on patent fundamentals. 
Update – If you have done a patent search and formulated some key features as an invention idea, read this article to find out how to convert your idea into a patent application
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