A Free Chinese Patent Search Site that’s Full of Suprises: Zhihuiya.com

[tweetmeme source=”Intellogist” only_single=false] Zhihuiya.com is a free Chinese patent search site, created by Wisdom buds Information Technology (Suzhou) Co., Ltd, which managed to surprise me multiple times.   The site is only available in Chinese, so I’d recommend  translating the site interface through a free online translation service (like Google Translate or Bing Translator), and search queries should also be translated into Chinese before being entered in the search form (although English abstracts are available, so English queries do produce results).  Native Chinese speakers will have an easier time utilizing this search site, but I’d still recommend that any prior art searcher test this site due to a few surprisingly useful features: broad coverage (including Norwegian patents), a wide variety of search forms (including a command-line interface and a batch search form),  and both Chinese and English abstracts are available in the full record format.  Other useful features, such as a bulk download feature, patent analysis functions, and the option to email records to other users, only seem to be available to registered, paying users.

After the jump, learn about the surprising coverage of Zhihuiya.com and which features are accessible for free to registered and non registered users!


One of the most interesting features of Zhihuiya.com is its broad coverage of both Chinese and non-Chinese patents.  The site allows users to search US patents, Chinese patents (including design and utility model), EPO patents and applications, PCT applications, Korean patents, Japanese patents, and Norwegian patents.  Users can select which database collections they want to search in via a list of collections with adjacent checkboxes, but no date coverage information is listed for the collections.

The available data collections on Zhihuiya.com.

I was particularly curious about the Norwegian patent coverage, so I conducted a search for publication dates from 1950 to present within the Norwegian collection to try and discover the coverage dates for the collection.  The earliest available publication date (for granted NO patents) is September 4, 1984, and the latest available publication date seems to be November 23, 2009.  Many of the NO records seem to only consist of basic bibliographic information and an English abstract.  It is unclear why this search site hosts a collection specifically of NO granted patents from 1984-2009, but any additional patent coverage is a positive feature for a free patent search system.


On the homepage of Zhihuiya.com, unregistered users can search through a simple keyword search form (and select to search “China Patent Search” or “Search global patent Chinese summary translation”). Beside the simple search form are the options to “Search the International Classification” (a feature only accessible to “business users”) and an advanced search option.

If the user selects the advanced search option, they can search through the following forms:

  • Field Search – User can select any/all databases to search, and multiple bibliographic fields are available for the user to search simultaneously.
  • Command Searches – A command-line interface, with a list of available codes below the search form and a text box and drop-down menu of codes to aid the user in creating queries.
  • Search volume – Appears to be a number search form, where the user can enter one or multiple numbers for a batch search (100 numbers maximum), bulk download (registered users only, 500 maximum), or to add to favorites (registered users only, 500 maximum).
  • Analysis cited – A number search form (100 numbers maximum), possibly to locate the citations for specific patent documents (for registered users only).
  • International Classification of Search – Possibly an IPC search, for registered users only.

The command-line interface, translated using Google Translate.

A simple search form is also located above this tabbed menu of advanced forms, and the simple form has the option for either a patent search or patent analysis, based on the the entered criteria. The patent analysis option is for registered users only.

After entering the desired criteria and completing a patent search, the results page is displayed in a format that Google Translate is mostly unable to translate to English. The user is able to view patent numbers and dates in Latin-based text, but all titles, inventor names, result filters, sorting options, and a menu of various options are displayed in Chinese.  After refreshing and navigating away from the page multiple times, I was able to view most of the menu sorting options and filters translated to English, but translation of the results menu generally seems to only work intermittently.  It is unclear why Google Translate has trouble translating this section of the website.   Within the results menu,  the options to save/download/add patents to favorites all appear to be accessible to registered users only.

The search results page, which I've attempted to translate to English using Google Translate.

The user can select the hyperlinked patent number to view the full record. The full record includes:

  • Bibliographic data.
  • An abstract in Chinese and English.
  • A link to the original record on the national authority website.
  • Options to download the PDF, save the record, or email the record (registered users only).
  • A dual-view option for what appears to be the text version and original document view (the PDF section of the view didn’t function correctly when I tried to use it).
  • A view of the original document, which can be navigated page-by-page.
  • Patent citation analysis (for registered users only).
  • Patent family information.

Both a Chinese and English abstract are available in the full record view.


I was able to create a free account on Zhihuiya.com, but free registration didn’t offer any extra features that aren’t already available to non-registered users.  Most features that are listed for registered users only appear to be accessible only for paying “business users.”  I was unable to create a list of favorites or add any patent documents to a “favorites” list, but it is unclear whether I was unable to navigate through the process of creating a saved list due to a  language barrier or due to the feature only being accessible to paying users.  Options that appear to be for paying users only include (but are not limited to):

  • Viewing search history.
  • Email alerts.
  • Data import.
  • Saved query statements.
  • All patent data analysis features.
  • Analysis cited and International Classification search forms.
  • Graphic view, quick view, or thumbnail view for results list.
  • Email records or searches to a colleague.
Users can contact the creators of Zhihuiya.com for more information on accessing the subscription features of the search system.


Zhihuiya.com is not the easiest site for a non-Chinese speaker to use.  Sections of the site are difficult to translate through Google Translate, and many of the more advanced features are subscription-only, so non-registered (or free registration) users will often be prompted with messages like “advanced users may use this feature to get more information, please contact us ” or “sorry, you are not our business users can not use this feature.”  Despite the language and access barriers, I was still pleasantly surprised at the coverage and free search and display features accessible on the site.  The broad patent coverage (including a collection of Norwegian granted patents), variety of search forms (including a command line interface), and English-language abstracts make  Zhihuiya.com a possibly useful site for searching both Chinese and other international patent documents.  If you need to conduct a thorough international search for both patent and non-patent literature prior art, you should contact a patent search professional.


Have you utilized either the free or subscription search or analysis features of  Zhihuiya.com?  What did you think of the site?  Let us know in the comments!

Patent Information 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.


2 Responses

  1. In my wanderings yesterday I also came across a site that had NO documents, and looking totally out of context. I can’t remember what it was but it definitely wasn’t Zhihuiya. The coverage (and format) looks similar except for the CN docs so maybe they are related (or a rip off)

  2. Very strange…if you come across the site again, definitely post a link.

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