For me, this is now the ultimate research tool.
Google is taking over the world. Just be glad that they let you live in it.
OK, now that we’ve gotten the obligatory humor out of the way, the Google Patent Search is based on the US Patent and Trade Office’s (USPTO) database of patents from 1790 until today. Now, that does not mean that it’s as comprehensive a patent database as the European Patent Office’s worldwide database (which is also an awesome tool), but it is an awful lot easier to do searches on than the USPTO’s interface if you have a US-only manufacturer or inventor that you’re trying to check up on, like Conn, Buescher, Martin, EA Courturier, JW York, HN White, etc.
Seriously, if this involved some of my tax dollars to create, I’m happy for the expenditure!