46 Non-patent Literature Databases for all your patent validity search needs

Conducting innumerable validity searches led us to realize that non-patent literature search databases often give us valuable leads to find the exact prior art.

But, the trick with successful non-patent literature searching is to know “where to search when?”. 

While we all know of the popular non-patent literature search databases like Google Scholar and IEEE Xplore, many other hidden gems have yielded relevant art in countless validity searches. 

Some of these databases are technology-specific, some are language specific, and many are comprehensive repositories from specific groups, universities, and organizations. So, how to know when to use these sources?

Well, to make your NPL searches easier, we have compiled these lesser-known Non-patent literature databases into a list. This list can be quite helpful if you’re looking to explore the limitless realm of Non-patent literature search but don’t know where to start.

So without further ado, let’s dive into the comprehensive list of Non-patent literature databases. 

Popular Non-patent Literature Search Databases

Google ScholarNoIt is a freely accessible web search engine that provides a vast database of peer-reviewed articles, theses, dissertations, and conference papers. Its ability to search the full text and metadata of scholarly literature across various publishing formats and disciplines allows users to find highly relevant results.
Google BooksNoIt is a vast digital database of scanned books and magazines converted to text using optical character recognition (OCR). It has a full-text search feature; you can even find out-of-print books on it.  
ResearchGateNoA European commercial social networking site for scientists and researchers to share scientific papers and research publications and find collaborators. The platform allows users to ask questions and receive answers from other researchers and experts, providing a valuable opportunity to engage in discussions and gain insights from peers.
Internet ArchiveNoProvides free public access to collections of digitized materials, including websites, software applications/games, music, movies/videos, moving images, and millions of books. Additionally, it offers a snapshot of how the internet looked in the past, making it a valuable resource for historical research. Eg. One can use Internet Archive to access old versions of app stores and websites for prior art searches on mobile app technology.
CiteseerXComputer and Information ScienceEvolving scientific literature digital library and search engine focused primarily on the literature in computer and information science. It provides access to various non-patent literature, including research papers, articles, conference proceedings, and technical reports. Additionally, CiteseerX offers citation and reference analysis tools, enabling patent professionals to identify key papers and authors in a given field.
Springer ThesesHealth and Life ScienceIt is a publishing company specializing in academic journals and books focusing on nursing, gerontology, psychology, social work, counseling, public health, and for rehabilitation (neuropsychology). Its outstanding doctoral thesis publication feature provides access to cutting-edge research.
Prior Art DatabaseNoThis is the premier prior art database for defensive publications. By adding the concept to the Prior Art Database, you publicly release it and establish it as prior art. It filters searches by publication dates and allows targeted searches by inventor, assignee, title, or keywords.
LensNoLens offers a wealth of patent and scholarly knowledge to support problem-solving in science and technology as a public good. Users can access the site without creating an account or paying any fees. Lens provides a broad range of research materials, including scholarly articles, patents, legal documents, and research datasets, which can be searched by keyword, author, or publication date. 
AcademiaNoIt is an open repository of academic articles free to read by visitors. However, uploading and downloading are restricted to registered users. Additional features are accessible only as a paid subscription.
DOAG (Directory of Open Access Journals)NoDOAJ hosts a community-curated list of peer-reviewed, scholarly journals from various fields of study that are free to anyone, anywhere in the world. It is regularly updated and maintained by the Infrastructure Services for Open Access (IS4OA) community. This ensures that the list is always up-to-date. It also provides a range of search options, allowing users to search for journals by subject, publisher, language, and more. 
WorldCatNoWorldCat.org is a great resource for locating unique, trustworthy materials that you can’t find anywhere except in a library. Users can search for books, journal articles, and other materials in the collections of libraries worldwide and find out where they are located from one easy search box. It also offers interlibrary loan services, which allow users to borrow materials from other libraries if they are not available locally.
ScienceDirectScience and HealthProvides access to a large bibliographic database of scientific and medical publications of the Dutch publisher Elsevier. It hosts over 18 million pieces of content from more than 4,000 academic journals and 30,000 e-books of this publisher. The platform’s advanced search features and filtering options also make it easy to find specific publications and stay up-to-date with the latest research in a given field. 
FCC ID DatabaseWireless DevicesThe FCC ID is a unique identifier assigned to a wireless device by the FCC. This ID is required for all wireless devices sold in the United States. In the FCC ID Database, by looking up an FCC ID, you can find details on the wireless operating frequency including strength), photos of the device, user manuals for the device, SAR reports on the wireless emissions, etc.
TAPPINoThey are a not-for-profit, volunteer-led association built around a community of thousands of member engineers, managers, scientists, academics, suppliers, and others worldwide.
ProQuestNoThe world’s most comprehensive curated collection of multi-disciplinary dissertations and theses from around the world.
PubmedBiomedical and Life ScienceComprises over 35 million citations for biomedical literature from MEDLINE, life science journals, and online books.
Semantic ScholarComputer Science, Geoscience, and BiomedicalIt is an artificial intelligence–powered research tool for scientific literature developed at the Allen Institute for AI. It uses advances in natural language processing to provide summaries for scholarly papers.

Repositories Associated with Universities and Colleges

NameDomain or SpecializationOverview
eScholarship (University of California)NoeScholarship is an open-access publishing platform. It includes working papers, electronic theses, dissertations (ETDs), student capstone projects, and paper/seminar series from 10 universities of California’s campuses and affiliated research centers.
DSpace@MITEngineering and the physical sciencesThe digital repository for MIT’s research, including peer-reviewed articles, technical reports, working papers, theses, and more. It provides a user-friendly search interface as well.
University of Texas LibrariesNoThe university is committed to building one of the greatest library collections in the world. They maintain over 10 million volumes and provide access to the latest digital journals, databases, and web resources. The Libraries collects and preserves the finest achievements of human knowledge in support of not only research and instruction needs but also the exploration of ideas and intellectual innovation.
Northeastern University LibraryNoThe library offers a comprehensive search engine to discover a wide range of resources, including historical collections, academic journals, and scientific research. The library also provides access to digital archives, e-books, and specialized databases.
Berkeley EECSElectrical and Computer Science The Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department at UC Berkeley maintains a digital repository of Ph.D. dissertations by year. These dissertations cover a wide range of topics in areas such as AI, ML, robotics, and computer architecture and provide in-depth analyses of the research conducted by scholars.
Caltech ThesesScience and Engineeringcontains a vast collection of cutting-edge academic research works such as Ph.D., Engineer, Master’s, and Bachelor’s/Senior theses written by Caltech students in various fields, including science, engineering, and technology. The platform is user-friendly, and the works can be accessed easily, making it an excellent resource for those needing high-quality, relevant research material.
Columbia University Libraries (Academic Commons)NoGlobal access to research and scholarship produced at Columbia University and its affiliate institutions.
Cadmus (European University Institute Research Repository)NoWorks on collecting, preserving & providing access to the EUI research outputs according to the EUI Open Access policy.
Stanford LibrariesNoA growing repository of Ph.D., Engineer, Master’s, and Bachelor’s/Senior theses authored at Stanford.
Ohio LinkNoOhio Library and Information Network maintains the repository of research at the university.
Library of Ph.D. Theses by EURASIP (European Association for Signal Processing)Signal ProcessingThe most extensive collection of doctoral dissertations in all areas of signal processing.
DART EuropeNoPortal for open-access research theses. DARTEurope is a partnership of research libraries and library consortia working together to improve global research.
Networked Digital Library of Theses and Dissertations (NDLTD)NoIt is an international organization dedicated to promoting the adoption, creation, use, dissemination, and preservation of electronic theses and dissertations (ETDs). They support electronic publishing and open access to a scholarship to enhance knowledge sharing worldwide. 
Open Access Theses and Dissertations (OATD)NoOATD.org aims to be the best possible resource for finding open-access graduate theses and dissertations published worldwide. Metadata (information about the theses) comes from over 1100 colleges, universities, and research institutions. OATD currently indexes 6,418,634 theses and dissertations.

Repositories Associated with Standard Organizations, Research Groups, and Others

NameAny Specific Domain or SpecializationOverview
IEEEXploreA research database for computer science, electrical engineering, electronics, and allied fields.It is a powerful resource for discovering scientific and technical content published by the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) and its publishing partners. It provides an advanced search interface for users.
3GPPTelecommunicationA repository for all telecommunication-related meetings, developments, standards, and proposals.
ETSI Mail List Server – 3GPPTelecommunicationA collection of all emails exchanged by members on a mailing list. Especially useful to track 3GPP email communication for the telecommunication domain.
AES (Audio Engineering Society)AudioAES is an international organization that unites audio engineers, creative artists, scientists, and students worldwide by promoting advances in audio and disseminating new knowledge and research.
ACM Digital LibraryComputerThe ACM Digital Library is the full-text collection of all articles published by the ACM in its articles, magazines, and conference proceedings, especially computing resources and practices. Provides advanced search options to the user.
ETSIInformation and CommunicationsETSI supports the timely development, ratification, and testing of globally applicable standards for ICT-enabled systems, applications, and services.
ISO StandardsAll technical subjects except electrical and electronics engineeringIt brings together experts to share knowledge and develops voluntary, consensus-based, market-relevant International Standards that support innovation and provides solutions to global challenges. The organization develops and publishes international standards in all technical and nontechnical fields besides electrical and electronic engineering.
RFC EditorComputerThe RFC Series (ISSN 2070-1721) contains technical and organizational documents about the Internet, including the specifications and policy documents produced by five streams: the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF), the Internet Research Task Force (IRTF), the Internet Architecture Board (IAB), Independent Submissions, and Editorial.
IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force)Internet-related protocolsA standards organization for the Internet and is responsible for the technical standards that make up the Internet protocol suite. The search interface is quite simple.
ISPOR—The Professional Society for Health Economics and Outcomes ResearchHealthAdvances the policy, science, and practice of pharmacoeconomics. ISPOR’s mission is to promote health economics and outcomes research to improve decision-making for health globally.

Asian Language Non-patent Literature Search Databases

NameAny Specific CountryOverview
Proquest Central via National Library Board SingaporeSingaporeHelps locate indexes, full-text e-journals, e-newspapers, ebooks, and e-magazines.
CiNiiJapanCiNii is a database service that can be searched with academic information on articles, Books, Journals & Dissertations held by university libraries in Japan. Allows the user to search in English.
NDL OnlineJapanNDL-OPAC is a system that allows you to search and apply materials from the National Diet Library. The website has an English version, which we can search using English keywords.
ShodhgangaIndiaProvides Indian theses in open access. The repository can capture, index, store, disseminate and preserve ETDs submitted by the researchers.
Seoul National University DissertationsKoreaComprises 500 million paperback book data, 100,000 journals, and e-journals. It also provides access to the National University Library, which houses the non-book materials of 20 thousand points of the species.

Well, for the sake of your eyes, I’ll end this list here. While you can bookmark this tab and keep the list handy for your NPL searches, this isn’t it. We have found prior art in museums, Youtube videos, product manuals, email archives, movies, and whatnot!

The key is to keep your mind open and not give up until you find it. 🙂

Next Read: We found prior art for a patent in Jurassic Park!

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