Free Online Tools and Resources for Inventors

As an inventor, you know that protecting your invention is vital to its success. The process of patenting can be daunting, but with the right tools and resources, it doesn’t have to be. In this blog post, we will discuss several free online tools and resources that every inventor should know about. These tools will help you better understand the patent process, conduct your own preliminary patent search, protect your invention, and more!

The USPTO Website


The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the government agency responsible for granting patents and registering trademarks. The USPTO website is a great resource for inventors, offering information on patenting procedures, patent search tools, and more.

Some key areas to check out include:

  • Events and Webinars – The USPTO puts on a variety of free, public events throughout the year. These events range from inventor hours to IP 101, as well as quarterly series that cover the entire patent process.
  • Patent Basics – If you’re starting from scratch and want general information on the patent life cycle or patent process, check out the Patent Basics section that highlights everything you need to know from the essentials to post-patent grant maintenance needs.
  • Patent Search – The USPTO offers several search tools to help inventors find patents that may be relevant to their invention as well as strategies for performing your own preliminary patent search.
  • Startup Resources – Navigating IP as a startup can be challenging, however the USPTO provides a variety of detailed guides and resources to help businesses develop an IP business plan, find funding, and protect their IP.
  • Journeys of Innovation – For those that need a little inspiration, the Journeys of Innovation section of the USPTO site cover the journeys and challenges of various inventors and entrepreneurs throughout time.

Patent Search Tools

PQAI’s AI-Powered Patent Prior Art Search Tool


PQAI is a free patent search tool provided on the Founders Legal website that offers users the ability to search for patents, patent applications, and prior art from around the world based on a description.

What makes this particular patent search tool so unique is that users have the ability to run their own preliminary patent searches for free, utilizing a state-of-the-art AI-powered search engine. Once a description of the idea is entered into the tool, the AI will provide a curated list of 10 highly relevant results related to your idea. These results can then be downloaded into a free report.

Within the app, users can also look up Cooperative Patent Classifications (CPCs) that relate to their invention, Group Art Unit (GAUs) predictors based on the invention description, extract key concepts from their query, and related keywords to aid in the search process.

Best of all, this tool is free, confidential, and has no limitations on the amount of searches a user can run.

Google Patents


Google Patents is a search engine created by Google that allows users to search for patents and patent applications from around the world. In addition to standard keyword searches, Google Patents offers various filters such as inventor name, assignee, filing date, and more.

USPTO’s Patent Full Text and Image Database


The USPTO’s Patent Full Text and Image database allows users to search for full-text patent images from 1790 to the present day. The database offers a variety of search features, including keyword searching, classification browsing, and more.



Espacenet is a free global patent search engine created by the European Patent Office (EPO). The search engine offers users the ability to search for patents and patent applications from over 100 countries.



Patentscope is a free global patent search engine created by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The search engine offers users the ability to search for patents and patent applications from over 80 countries.


If you are a college student, there are a number of universities that offer free or patent resources and services to help get you started. The following list includes some notable universities with inventors programs:

– Stanford University

– Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

– Purdue University

– Northwestern University

– Cornell University

Intellectual Property News and Resource Blogs

There are a variety of IP news and resource pages that provide information on various topics and current events centered around IP and patents.

IPWatchdog is a credible news source that highlights the nitty-gritty legal aspects of patent law and also provides a section dedicated to inventors and inventor resources.

At Founders Legal, we also offer a variety of free intellectual property resources within our searchable resource page, including our latest news and blog posts on topics such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, trade secrets, and more. You can also find inventor guides, videos, and answers to frequently asked questions, along with other helpful tools and resources.

Attorney Consultations

If you’re looking for more personal assistance with your patent or patent search or what the next steps are in protecting your invention, a free patent attorney consultation can be an incredible resource. While consultations do not provide legal guidance, they can help inventors better understand the patent process and what options are available to them based on their particular goals or limitations.

While not every patent law firm provides free consultations, at Founders Legal, we offer free, 15-minute phone consultations through one of our patent professionals. To schedule your free call, visit our consultation page here or give us a call toll-free at +1 (800) 530-4983.

Making the most of these free tools and resources

These free resources and tools can get you started on your journey to innovation, but they should by no means be the only resources you use. Always consult with a credible patent attorney to get specific legal advice tailored to your invention and situation. Taking the proper steps to protect and commercialize your idea can improve the results of your patent process and increase the value of your patent for commercialization.  At Founders Legal we offer free consultations for inventors who are looking for more personal guidance on their patent search or application process.

If you have any further questions or want to get started on protecting your invention, feel free to reach out to us at Founders Legal. We would be happy to help!

The information on this website is provided for general informational purposes only. None of the information on this website is offered, nor should it be construed, as legal advice on any matter. Visit our Legal Notice to learn more.