Searching the Inventor Field

Searches the Inventor Name(s) field within a patent record. Enter one or more inventor names (in the format last name, first initial, middle initial) connected with search operators.


About Inventors

In many records, inventors whose names contain non-alphanumeric characters are listed twice within the Inventor field. One listing contains the non-alphanumeric character, the other does not (no space is included for apostrophes, but a space is included for hyphens). When searching for these inventors, only the occurrences of the name that match the search term are highlighted in the results.


Inventor Search Examples

  • Smith finds Smith A, Smith R, Smith J E, and so on.

  • Smith A finds Smith A, Smith A J, Smith A L, and so on.

  • Smith AJ OR Smith A J finds Smith A J.

  • Smith AND Jones finds Smith and Jones.

  • Smith NOT Smith A finds Smith R, Smith J E, Smith R W, and so on, but it does not find Smith A.


Hyphens and Apostrophes

Include hyphens (-) and apostrophes ( ' ) when searching for names containing those marks or replace them with spaces. You will also retrieve variants. For example:

  • Rivas-Martinez S* OR Rivas Martinez S* matches both variations of the name.

  • O'Brien OR O Brien matches both variations of the name.

In most name searches, the product returns the same number of records whether you enter a space, a hyphen ( - ), or an apostrophe ( ' ).

A search on the name OBrien may return a different set of results than O'Brien and O Brien. It is advisable that you do not remove the hyphen, the apostrophe, or the space in names that contain these marks.

Note: Beginning with 1998 data, non-alphanumeric characters (for example, the apostrophe in O'Brian) and spaces in surnames (for example, de la Rosa) are preserved in surnames. To effectively search across multiple years, enter surnames that take into account all possible variations of the name.


Search Tips
  • When searching for an inventor with more than one initial, enter the initials without spaces between them (for example, Becker SC) even though the name may display with a space between the initials.

  • Enter full names or partial names using wildcards. For example: Smith A*


Anonymous Inventors

To search for anonymous inventors, enter anonymous in the Inventor field.

The term Anonymous will appear in the Inventors(s) field on the Results and Full Record pages.