Free Cross-Lingual Searching on IpXnase

[tweetmeme source=”Intellogist” only_single=false]  For non-native English speakers, searching for English-language prior art often proves to be challenging.  Luckily, resources like IpXnase exist which provide free cross-lingual patent and prior art search tools.  Native English speakers will benefit from the patent search and analysis capabilities of the system, as well as the non-patent literature search features.  Of course, IpXnase is no replacement for professional prior art searches and translation services, but the site can provide a useful starting point for both English and non-English language prior art searchers.

IpXnase is a free search engine that provides cross-lingual searching of patents, and the site has a trove of nifty analysis, export, non-patent literature, and translation tools that will aid a prior art searcher in formulating their query.  Continue reading to learn about the cross-lingual patent search features of IpXnase, as well as other useful tools available on the site!

Cross-Lingual Patent Searches

All search functions on IpXnase appear to be free to use without any registration, and the search portal can be viewed in English, Japanese, or Chinese.  According to the section “About” (accessible in the upper right corner of the homepage), the site is powered by Google App Engine. The IpXnase manual section illustrates the correct way to conduct a cross-lingual patent search through the system:

  • The user first selects the language of the portal through a drop-down menu in the upper right corner of the homepage.

Select the language of the portal from a drop-down menu.

  • The user inputs the query in the search form at the top of the page. All available fields codes and query formatting examples can be found here.
  • Users can translate query terms into English using Google.  Simply select the “Query Translate and Patent Search” button beside the search form, and search terms are translated automatically into English while simultaneously conducting the patent search.

I search within the document title in Chinese for "Lithium."

After pressing the "Query Translate and Patent Search" button, the search term is automatically translated into English.

After pressing the "Query Translate and Patent Search" button, the search term is automatically translated into English.

  • The patent search is conducted through EPO data. Users can view five search results in a hit list (and select to move forward to the next five results or backwards). The full record is displayed in the panel below the hit list, and users can:
    • Download up to the first ten pages of the full document in PDF format.
    • Edit or add annotations to a specific section of the document record.
    • Access a link to the document on TIPO (only provided for some results).
    • View (under separate tabs) bibliographic data, claims, description, IPC classification, family and legal status information, and a graphical representation of “Family GeoMap.”

View a graphical representation of the patent family's geographical layout under "Family GeoMap."

The search system can occasionally freeze up on the user, and certain sections of the document records (mostly claims, description, family and legal status, or Family GeoMap) may not be available for all search results.  The translation feature is only capable of translating search terms to English, so users will need to find other resources if they need to translate the search terms into additional languages.

Other Tools

Besides cross-lingual patent searching, IpXnase also has non-patent literature search, export, statistical analysis, and translation tools:

  • Non-patent literature: Users can conduct a non-patent literature search through the Web Resources section, which includes RSS feeds from various patent offices, a Google search, a search of Biotechnology resources (EBI Medline) or Physics/IT/Math resources (arXiv).
Enter your query in Google, Medline, or arXiv..

Enter your query in Google, Medline, or arXiv

  • Exporting: Users can export patent results 10 documents at a time (bibliographic data) through email.  A Google Docs export feature is under construction.
  • Statistical Analysis: The system displays a graphical illustration of common IPC classifications of search results (only 10 results analyzed at a time).

View the most common IPC codes for search results.

  • Translation: Users can look up synonyms or related terms for a specific English keyword or translate a term to English.

Find synonyms for English terms or translate terms to English.


IpXnase can be a great starting point for a prior art search for both English and non-English speakers.  English speakers can find the most common IPC codes for a query through the graphical IPC tool or find synonyms for an English-language term to expand their query.  Non-English speakers can translate terms to English and conduct a preliminary patent search by simply entering their query in the “Query Translate and Patent Search” form.  Users can also conduct a preliminary non-patent literature search by transferring their query to Google, Medline , or arXiv. IpXnase can occasionally act glitchy by freezing up on the user, and not all record sections are accessible for every result.   However, IpXnase is only one free resource, and professional searchers should consult a wide variety of free and subscription search systems to locate all relevant prior art.

Do you think that the cross-lingual search features of IpXnase will be useful for non-English prior art searchers?  Do you know of any other cross-lingual patent search systems?  Let us know in the comments!

Patent Searches from Landon IP

This post was contributed by Joelle Mornini. 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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