Searching Chinese Patent and Non-Patent Literature on

[tweetmeme source=”Intellogist” only_single=false]  Search Chinese journals, dissertations, conference proceedings, information on Chinese companies and products, data from Chinese scientific institutes, policies and laws of China, Chinese patents, and national/industrial standards all through one portal:  The search portal is available in both English and Chinese.  According to the About section of the website, “Wanfang Data has been a task force of the Institute of Scientific & Technological Information of China (ISTIC), the Chinese Ministry of Science & Technology, since 1950s.”  The site is subscription-based, but free limited search options are available on the Chinese version of the website.  Users can also request a trial for the English version of Wanfang Data portal.

After the jump, learn about the Chinese patent and non-patent literature available through both the English and Chinese-language versions of Wanfang Data!

English-Language Version

The English-language version of the Wanfang Data portal includes a drop-down menu in the upper right corner of the website, where users can select to access databases individually. User can also search through a cross-database search form, where users select any or all of nine different databases via checkboxes in a side menu. The Cross-Database Search includes three query forms (with a drop-down menu of field identifiers: full text, title, author, institution, etc.) that can be connected by Boolean operators (via a drop down menu between query forms).  In order to conduct any searches within the English-language version of the portal, users must first sign in to their subscription-based accounts.

The English-language version of the Wanfang Data website describes each database available through the platform:

“Featured Collections” for the English-language system include:

  • Chinese Studies Online – A package of database content and a search platform that contains journals, dissertations, conference proceedings, and policies and laws of China.
  • China Medical Collections – This portal covers medical journals, dissertations, conference proceedings, patents, standards, companies, and products.
  • Science & Technology of China – This collection of science materials includes journals, dissertations, conference proceedings, Chinese standards, and patents.
  • China Business Reference – This collection of business information contains laws, policies, and regulations, Chinese company and product information (in both Chinese and English), Chinese standards, and patents.
  • China Legal Collections – A collection of Chinese laws, regulations and policies, journals, dissertations, and conference proceedings.

The cross-database search form on the English-language version of Wanfang Data.

Chinese Version

Users can utilize translation software, like Google Translate, to translate the Chinese version of into the language of their choice. The simple search form for the Chinese version of has a single query form where users choose (via tabs located above the form) from multiple documents types that can be searched. Searchable document types include (translation from Chinese to English):

  • Papers
  • Journal
  • Degree (Thesis)
  • Meeting (Conference)
  • Foreign Literature (non-Chinese literature)
  • Patents
  • Standard (National and industrial standards)
  • Achievement (These appear to be technical guides and specifications)
  • Books
  • Legislation
  • Agency (Business organizations, educational and research institutions, and information agencies)
  • Expert

A Cross-Database Search form is also available in the Chinese version (users must log in to their account to utilize this form). The Advanced Search section includes both Advanced and Classical search forms, with various searchable data fields in the Advanced search and drop-down menus of field options in the Classical search. A “Specialized Retrieval” search form is also available under the Advanced Search section. The “Specialized Retrieval” search form appears to be a command line interface that allows the user to search via CQL search language.  Users can conduct searches for free and without registration through all available search forms (except the cross-database search) on the Chinese version of Wanfang Data.

The hit list for results in the Chinese-language system includes a side menu with additional criteria to limit the result list. The limiting criteria is different for each database.

The results of a search on the Chinese version of Wanfang Data (translated using Google Translate).

Users can view bibliographic records of the results, but they must purchase the full document or log in to view full-text of results. Most journal results include both an English and Chinese-language abstract.

The available bibliographic record, including an English-language abstract, for a journal article on the Chinese version of Wanfang Data (untranslated).


Wanfang Data includes content and search options for both Chinese and English-language users, and although the content is subscription-based, users can still search the portal and view limited records through the Chinese version of the system.  The portal gives users access to an impressive array of Chinese patent and non-patent literature, ranging from journal articles to company listings and industrial standards.  Institutions can choose to subscribe to a variety of subject-specific collections, so administrators can tailor the accessible content of the portal to user needs. Wanfang Data is a valuable central portal for searching Chinese prior art, although any professional patent searcher will utilize a variety of other free and subscription resources to locate all available Chinese and non-Chinese prior art.

Have you used Wanfang Data for locating Chinese prior art?  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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