Free is getting better!
Patents are an interesting source of knowledge, although it remains quite difficult to collect information from patents. Several databases and search engines provide patent literature, and some of them provide it for free. The two best known free search engines have announced some changes at the annual Patent Information Conference. Free is even getting better!
Espacenet is probably the most complete search engine providing some 100 million of documents. It is therefore no wonder that Espacenet had a 12% growth of users last year (read more). It is also interesting to note that since November 1st, 2016, the "Global Dossier" has been expanded: as soon as you have found a certain patent, you can check its status worldwide through the "Global Dossier".
Also Google Patents has vastly completed its user-friendly and free of charge database. Google mentioned that more and more professional users have found their way to Google patents. In the near future they will also try to complete their search engine with a search history in order to combine search commands.
Free only gets better!