Google today announced it has broadened the scope of Google Patents, its search engine for both patents and patent applications. The company has added documents from four new patent agencies: China, Germany, Canada, and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Unlike most of its announcements nowadays, this move falls neatly under Google’s goal to organize the world’s information. The company notes many of these newly added documents “may provide prior art for future patent applications” and it hopes their increased discoverability “will improve the quality of patents in the US and worldwide.”

All patents are available in both their original languages and in English, thanks to Google Translate integration. Furthermore, this means you can search across Google’s expanded database of patents using terms in any of the provided languages.

Screen Shot 2013 09 17 at 7.02.12 AM 730x522 Google Patents adds documents from China, Germany, Canada, and the World Intellectual Property Organization

As you can see in the screenshot above, when there are multiple submission languages, you can move between them with a single click on the tabs at the top of the page. All these features explain why it has taken Google so long to add more organizations to its patent search engine: the company wanted to nail down the user experience first.

That being said, there’s no explanation why Google is only limiting translations to English. Google Translate supports over 60 languages, so many will likely be disappointed by this limitation.

When Google Patents first launched, it only included patents and patent applications from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). In August 2012, however, the company expanded it to European Patent Office (EPO) patents and launched the Prior Art Finder as well. Now it looks like it is accelerating the growth of its database.

See also – Google announces patent pledge not to sue users, distributors, or developers of open-source software and Google withdraws ITC patent claims against Microsoft over video technology

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