Searching for ownership

Recently, the PTRC received an inquiry about whether the Catholic Church owns any patents. How do you find out whether a corporation or other institution has any patents?
Start at PatFT, the USPTO's database of full-text patents. The default searches all fields, but it is often much more useful to pick a particular field. Patent owners are known as assignees, so in this case, Assignee Name is the field to use.

For example, a search for "catholic" in all fields gives 964 results. Not unmanageable, especially in the context of the over 10 million issued patents (though the full text is only available on patents issued from 1976 to the present. How to search 1975 and earlier? Stay tuned for the next post). Changing the search field to Assignee Name yields a list of 207 results, a relatively easy set to browse.

If all else fails, call the PTRC for help!

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