I've noticed that in posts here we're going to very often reference patents by their code / number, whatever you prefer to call it. It seems like a good idea to link these whenever possible to a site describing the patent.

But there are various sites which contain info on lots of patents.

Should we have a canonical place to link to? Is there an official one for say USPTO? Should we link to Google Patents?

Obviously sometimes there will be a reason to link to a specific site, but the majority of the time would consistency be good?

Another option is to have back end support that detects patent references and automagically offers links to various places. Something like Wikipedia does for geographic coordinates.

1 Answer 1


Link to Google Patents as the default. They have a very nice interface for reading a patent, and a very easy and predictable URL. If the Patent or Publication number is US 2009/0293106, the URL is:


Also, tag the question with the patent number, like: . The software will use this to automatically include a link in the sidebar to the patent.

Of course, you can also feel free to link to any other site if they have more information.

  • What about patents like this one listed in this question, us7222078. The patent number doesn't include the year (according to Google Patents) and the automatic linking doesn't seem to be applied.
    – Jeremy
    Sep 6, 2012 at 14:07
  • @Jeremy oops, autolinking is turned off for right now, but it'll be back before we go public Sep 6, 2012 at 14:09
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    @Jeremy Issued patent numbers don't have a year. Publication numbers (for patent applications) do. Basically the USPTO has two parallel numbering systems. Sep 6, 2012 at 14:10
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    @David if they're always going to match the regex us\d*, couldn't we make these into hyperlinks automatically? That'll save users a lot of hassle. Sep 6, 2012 at 14:45
  • @DavidFullerton Oh, I see. The publication number wasn't listed on the patent page, I need to click on the application number to find it. Your implementation seems to imply that we should be referring to patents by their publication number instead of their patent number -- it this correct?
    – Jeremy
    Sep 6, 2012 at 15:25
  • @Jeremy It's two different documents as far as Google and the USPTO are concerned: the application (which gets a publication number) and the issued patent (which gets a patent number). Generally once the patent has been issued there's no point in talking about the application, so always use the patent number if it's available. Sep 6, 2012 at 15:33
  • Is there a preference when a document is not yet available on Google Patent?
    – JDMc
    Jan 28, 2015 at 22:55

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