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The worldwide patent database

! The EP and PCT publications formerly contained in the EP and WIPO databases have been merged into the respective language full-text databases.

The worldwide database offers you the possibility to search for published patent applications from over 90 patent-granting authorities. However, as the EPO relies on data delivery by the patent-granting authorities, it cannot be guaranteed that the data in Espacenet is complete.


PCT minimum documentation

The worldwide database is based on the PCT minimum documentation, which is defined by WIPO as the minimum requirement for patent collections that are used to search for prior art documents for the purpose of assessing novelty and inventiveness. More information about the PCT minimum documentation can be found on the WIPO website.

The EPO has expanded the coverage of its database far beyond the PCT minimum documentation to include data from other countries and earlier time periods. Moreover, additional information, such as CPC symbols and references to cited documents, is added by EPO examiners in the course of their work.


Availability of the PCT minimum documentation in the worldwide database


Country Facsimiles from Abstracts from Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC)
CH 1888, from CH1 onwards 1970 1888
DE 1877, from DE1 onwards 1970 1877, from DE1 onwards
EP 1978, from EP1 onwards 1978 1978
FR 1900 1970 1902
GB 1859 1893 1859
US 1836, from US1 onwards 1970 1836, from US1 onwards
WO 1978 1978 1978



Latest updates to the database

You will find up-to-date information on the EPO website under Latest Bibliographic coverage and Latest full-text coverage. Both lists are updated daily.


Updates to the database

The EPO’s databases are updated daily. Data is added to the database as soon as possible after it is received from the national patent granting authorities. For more information on the data content of the database, see Information on EPO data on the EPO website.


Availability of searchable data in the database

Documents in the database have the following searchable fields: application number, priority number, publication number, publication date, inventor, applicant and International Patent Classification (IPC).

The Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) assigned by EPO examiners is usually available a few months after the publication date. This means that you should not search with CPC symbols if you are targeting recently published documents.

English abstracts are normally loaded approximately one month after the publication date, depending on availability and delivery from the national offices and patent-granting authorities.

If the abstract is published in a language other than English, the original abstract is usually translated into English, unless there are English abstracts already available for patent family members. Otherwise, the abstract is requested and subsequently loaded into the database.


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