Patent searching in the 21st century Chapter 8 described the types of searching required to review the patents issued by the U.S. government to answer the question sought. Today, every practical search method utilizes a computer database to search for patents. In broad terms, today’s method of searching can be broken into two distinct types: searching from the PTO public search facility or local PDL using the Web-Based Examiner’s Search Tool (WEST), or working from the home or of‹ce using an online Internet database provided by the PTO or some other third-party service.