Every patent ever issued goes online

Want to know who holds the original U.S. patent for Velcro, the microwave oven or toilet paper?

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has a site for you.

The USPTO recently announced that it has expanded it Web-based patent database to include every American patent ever issued — a total of more than 6.5 million.

The database, at www.uspto.gov/patft, now offers nearly four terabytes of full-page images for the more than 4.2 million patents issued from 1790 through 1975. The agency originally allocated only two terabytes for patent images on the Web.

Patents issued before 1975 are searchable by patent number and current U.S. patent classification, while those issued in the past 24 years are searchable by full-text fields.

The USPTO has also added two database Web servers and the doubled the available bandwidth to accommodate the increasing public use of the patent database, said Q. Todd Dickinson, director of the USPTO.

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