Basic search tips

You can perform searches in the worldwide database.

You have the following search options:

Smart search combines multiple functions in a single, easy-to-use search field. Just type in your terms, and the search engine will try to "guess" what you mean. That way, you can concentrate on narrowing down the search results and resolve ambiguity, if necessary, by entering additional terms. Smart search also understands Contextual Query Language (CQL). More ...

Advanced search is the best option if you want to search in the bibliographic data and the abstract (where available) and to combine various search terms.

Classification search is the right option if you are interested in finding all the patent publications in a particular technical area. Being a powerful tool used by professional patent searchers, it can take a while to get used to, but it is usually worth the effort. More...

You can enter a maximum of ten search terms per field and a maximum of 20 search terms plus 19 operators per form. Please enter your search terms separated by a space. You do not have to type in the default operators AND and OR. The system automatically uses the correct one: for the publication number , application number and priority number fields, the default operator is OR; for all other fields, as well as the Smart search, the default operator is AND.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Choose your keywords carefully and remember that the applicant or translator may have used other expressions or spellings.
  • Some documents do not have translated titles or abstracts. For this reason, you will not find them using keywords, but have to use other search criteria such as classification.
  • Enter your search terms in lower case. The search engine will find both upper- and lower-case occurrences of the terms.
  • If you want to search for phrases, enclose them in quotation marks.
  • To retrieve a list of documents indexed with the applicant's or inventor's country of residence, enter the country code in square brackets [CC] in the Applicant(s) or Inventor(s) search fiels in Advanced search. To do this in Smart search, enter the country code with the appropriate field identifier, ie. in=[CC] or pa=[CC].
  • In the worldwide database, keywords must be entered in English.
  • Diacritical characters (umlauts and accents) are not supported when searching in the worldwide database, so please enter your search terms without them.
  • Expand your searches by combining your search terms with the OR operator. The search engine will look for records that contain at least one of your search terms.
  • Narrow down your searches by combining your search terms with the AND operator. The search engine will look for records that contain all of your search terms.
  • Exclude records that are not relevant to your search by placing the NOT operator in front of the relevant search term.
  • You will get optimum results by searching using a combination of the IPC /CPC and abstract fields.
  • What are the search limitations in Espacenet?

Need more help?

Use Quick help on the left of the screen for answers to the most frequently asked questions. For more detailed information, click the Help button in the main horizontal menu near the top of the screen. Click Contact at the top right of the screen to set up an e-mail to the helpdesk.

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