Free Bulk Patent Download Solutions Compared

Bulk downloading of patents is a feature widely available in most commercial patent search systems. A recent question on LinkedIn, however, reminded me about the understandable demand for free patent bulk download solutions.

There are a few different types of bulk patent downloading solutions: integrated features of patent search systems, dedicated websites, and standalone applications. These solutions all have their pluses and minuses, so I’ll take you on a tour of what’s available out there.

Continue on after the jump to find out which of these free bulk downloading options is right for you!


Bulk downloading is the name for the capability of a system or tool to allow the input of multiple patent document numbers (at once) and then prepare or deliver those documents via download to the user. Systems may also be considered to have bulk downloading capabilities if a list of patent documents can be saved and then downloaded at-once.

Taking a look at the systems covered in the Intellogist Reports via the Quick Table Comparison feature, we can see that Espacenet and SumoBrain both have bulk downloading capabilities, so let’s profile those systems first.

System: Espacenet
Features: Users can download up to 30 documents into a single PDF file through “My patents” list. The user must select the checkboxes of all desired documents on the “My patents” hit list, and after checking the desired documents, users select the “Download” link in the upper right of the screen. Up to 30 documents can then be downloaded into a single PDF document.
Coverage: For many documents in the system, Espacenet hosts the original document. This includes US, EP, WO/PCT, and 80+ worldwide countries.

Espacenet bulk download

The Espacenet bulk download puts all documents into one bookmarked PDF.

System: SumoBrain
Features: All downloading must be done through the system’s “cart” interface, which requires users to send documents to the cart (via icons available in the hit list, individual record view, portfolio, or any other part of the site where patent documents are displayed) or directly import documents in the “My Cart” interface. The deliverable is a .zip file containing all selected documents in separate PDF files.
Coverage: US, EP, WO/PCT

SumoBrain bulk downloading

SumoBrain bulk downloading is managed through a "cart" system.

These integrated search system solutions are great from a workflow perspective, should the user prefer using those search systems. Since there are multiple steps to bulk downloading within Espacenet and SumoBrain, it may not be the most time effective solution for users not already working within these environments. SumoBrain has the advantage of delivering the documents as separate PDF files, but Espacenet has superior coverage.

Next up, we’ll take a lot at a couple of websites solely dedicated to bulk patent downloading: PAT2PDF and Patent Retriever.

System: PAT2PDF
Features: PAT2PDF is a website dedicated to fetching and providing download links to US patent documents. The simple site allows users to input multiple numbers at once, but does not provide a single compiled deliverable.
Coverage: US

PAT2PDF bulk downloading

PAT2PDF interprets a list of document numbers and provides separate download links for each PDF.

System: Patent Retriever
Features: Patent Retriever allows up to 10 document numbers to be submitted, and provides users download links instead of a compiled deliverable.
Coverage: US, EP, WO/PCT

Patent Retriever bulk downloading

Links are provided for up to 10 documents at a time.

PAT2PDF and Patent Retriever both provide links to PDF downloads instead of delivering the compiled documents in one step. Patent Retriever has the advantage of offering coverage beyond US documents, but PAT2PDF supports a higher number of simultaneous download link retrievals.

Next up, we’ll take a look at a free patent downloading application, poxoq for patents.

System: poxoq for patents
Features: Poxoq for patents is a stand-alone desktop application that uses the Open Patent Services (OPS) database to retrieve and download patent PDFs. Results can be viewed within INPADOC family trees (allowing users to download related documents). Specific document sections (such as abstract, claims, etc.) can be selected for individual download. Batch downloading is available, and several patent number formats are supported. Poxoq for patents is free and features automatic updating.
Coverage: Coverage is equivalent to Espacenet (US, EP, WO/PCT, and 80+ worldwide countries).

poxoq for patents bulk downloading

poxoq for patents automatically finds family members and enables you to download them

Poxoq is the most full-featured free bulk downloading solution. Users can set up download directories, specify parts of patents to download, select related family members for download, and more.

Conclusion: In my opinion, the best all-around free bulk downloading solution reviewed here today is poxoq for patents, but the stand-alone application may not be right for all users. Those looking for bare-bones solutions might do better to try PAT2PDF or Patent Retriever, while those looking for an integrated search and download approach can check out Espacenet or SumoBrain. It all comes down to personal preference!

What’s your free bulk patent downloading tool or system of choice? Did we leave out your favorite? Tell us about it in the comments below!

Patent Searches from Landon IP

This post was contributed by Intellogist Team member Chris Jagalla. The Intellogist blog is provided for free by Intellogist’s parent company Landon IP, a major provider of patent searches, trademark searches, technical translations, and information retrieval services.

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16 Responses

  1. i usually download as i go. i live primarily in the australian system so when i’ve got the record open i’ve got a direct link to the pdf for the specification with the correct kind code. having to go back and re-enter all the relevant numbers for a bulk download would just add more time, and i’d also have an availability problem for older (pre-1999) AU specifications even in espacenet

    • Thanks for the input (as always) insomniac! I wonder what percentage of people download as they go vs. all at once later on. I think bulk downloading has more application if you’re given a list of numbers by someone else (say, off of an Information Disclosure Statement).

      • i thought a bit more about it and came to the same conclusion as you. i’d only use bulk downloads if i was given a list of numbers, but it’s probably likely to be an international search report, so unlikely to contain many numbers, and so downloading one by one isn’t a problem

      • The bulk download feature is also useful if the project changes hands or changes between systems. Analyst A does some searching, finds 8 good references, and passes to Analyst B.

  2. I have been using GetIPDL for years, but will check out poxoq. GetIPDL is a software app. that works well until there is a change with one of the patent office databases which requires a new version of GetIPDL to be created.

  3. The last time I looked, OPS (used by poxoq) does NOT provide US certificates of correction. Those can be important in many cases, especially when the correction is of bibliographic (first page) information that can effect an expiration date calculation.

    • Thanks for the heads up, Patent Guy!

      I did a quick look through the OPS documentation here: http://www.epo.org/searching/free/ops.html but couldn’t find a clear answer about US certificates of correction. It wouldn’t surprise me if they didn’t include them and it’s a good reminder that poxoq (or any system that uses OPS) cannot be considered the end all-be all solution.

  4. poxoq is undoubtedly one of the more versatile solutions for rapid downloading. Unfortunately, the system has some hiccups from time to time, but thus far I am willing to live with that. Especially knowing that full-fletched commercial patent download systems fare really expensive.

    • Good point Peer, I think it’s important to remember the context (free) in comparison to some of the viable alternatives (expensive!).

  5. [...] last week’s post about Free Bulk Patent Downloading Solutions, we got a helpful tip from reader Jim, pointing out his favorite patent downloading tool: GetIPDL. [...]

  6. the article is a as a matter of fact passable one. Tender thanks for partitioning such great information out. Ill deff be driving by more often so i an notice whats new!

  7. [...] 2. Free Bulk Patent Download Solutions Compared – In this useful post, Chris Jagalla compares the utility of a number of free bulk patent download options, including Espacenet, SumoBrain, PAT2PDF, Patent Retriever,  and poxoq for patents. Chris compares the download features and patent document coverage of each system, and a rather surprising underdog application comes out on top as the “best all-around free bulk downloading solution.” [...]

  8. Here has a IPGet patent search system can bulk download ten websites’s patent.

    http://en.ipwom.com/ipget.aspx

  9. I do a lot of patent analysis, where I have to download several hundred patents and need the basic fields, and at least claim 1, in a csv or doc or excel file so that I can work with the info..not a pdf. Any suggestions for a free site?

    • Hi Glenn – You’ll probably have the best export options through a subscription tool, like Orbit.com or Thomson Innovation. Espacenet does include a very basic export option in CSV format from the results list, but it doesn’t include anything beyond basic bibliographic info.

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