Google Patents now includes US published applications and patents through at least the end of 2007. Google engineers have added a filter to the advanced search form that allows you to retrieve only issued patents or applications. However, there are still numerous problems with the search engine. For example, it is not possible to retrieve published applications by number. And classification searching is very problematic. A search on USPC 903/906 retrieved only 5 hits in Google but 417 hits in the USPTO databases. A search for inventor name "Mihal Lazaridis" retrieved 62 patents (with the "issued patents" filter on) and 81 published applications (with the "applications" filter on) for a total of 143 documents; the same search with not filter retrieved only 137 documents.
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