Remember Google Patent Search? Not many do, but that’s all about to change now that patents are searchable directly from the Google Search sidebar.Google’s been able to search patents for several years now, but the feature revolved around a special search page that had been set up just for that purpose.
It may be possible that Google wants patents included in the sidebar due to the recent (and massive) uptick in legal battles revolving around them. It’s also just as likely that Google wants to include more of its lesser-known, specialised search functions on the main search page. Either way, it’s definitely a better place for them than an entirely separate page.
The added option may take some time to show up for everybody. For my own account, it only shows in the sidebar when I add &tbm=pts to the end of the URL for a search results page.