Help


FAQs

Please also use the context-sensitive Quick help on the left of the screen for answers to the most frequently asked questions.


Does the EPO perform searches for users?

No. Espacenet was set up to enable users to conduct their own searches in patent documents to and give them a wide range of search options. Espacenet can give you a valuable overview of the state of the art, but if you need an in-depth search, it's advisable to seek help from a patent-information professional or to use professional patent search services .


Can I search for a phrase?

Yes, you can search for a phrase using quotation marks (e.g. "bicycle frame"). This will retrieve only those documents in which the exact phrase is present.


What language should my keywords be in?

In the worldwide database, your keywords must be in English. However in the EP database and WIPO databases , you can enter them in English, French or German.


Can I search in the full text?

Yes. In the EP and WIPO databases, you can search for terms in English, French or German in the full text of the descriptions and claims. More ...


Can I use apostrophes and hyphens?

Apostrophes ('), hyphens (-) and slashes (/) are not allowed when searching in the worldwide database. Please use blank spaces instead. Apostrophes and hyphens are however allowed when searching the EP and WIPO databases. (Slashes can only be used for date entries and CPC/IPC symbol entries).


Can I use truncation/wildcards?

Yes, you can use wildcards to expand your search to include, for example, the plural forms of a word. The following three wildcard characters are available: * ? #. More ...


Can I search for a date range when I am searching by publication date?

Yes, you can use the following format in the Advanced search or Smart search: 2000:2002. More ...


How can I retrieve all documents having a particular country code?

To retrieve all the documents having a particular country code (e.g. GB), all you have to do is to enter the country code in the application, priority or publication number field.


How do I enter PCT application numbers in Espacenet?

The format for the PCT (WO) application number in Espacenet is the country code WO followed by the year of filing (four digits), the country code of the country where the application was filed (two characters) and a five-digit serial number, amounting to a total of 13 characters.

To find, for example, PCT application PCT/IB2007/51010, you will have to type in WO2007IB51010. If you are searching for application number PCT/MX2007/000062, you will have to enter WO2007MX00062 (i.e. remove the leading zero).


Can I search for non-patent literature (XP) documents?

Yes, but only ones which have been classified or cited in a search report produced at the EPO. You cannot retrieve an XP document by the name of the author or limit a search to XP documents only. When searching for a specific article, you must enter the NPL reference number in the Smart search mask.

Where available, a DOI link has been added. A DOI (digital object identifier) is a permanent digital identifier for electronic intellectual property documents. If you know the DOI of a non-patent literature document, you can retrieve that document by entering the field identifier "doi=" plus the DOI number in the Smart search mask. More ...


What do A1, A2, A3 and B stand for after a European publication number?

When a European patent application is published together with the search report, it is known as an A1 publication. When this application is published without the search report, it is an A2 document. The search report is then published later as an A3 document. When the patent is granted, it is published as a B document. More ...


What is an A0 document?

When a Euro-PCT application is published and an equivalent is already available in one of the official languages, i.e. when the corresponding WO is not republished, only an EP publication number is issued.

When you search for this number in the worldwide database, you will find the 'A0' document in the Original document sidebar option. This document indicates the number of the corresponding PCT publication. The PCT (WO) publication itself can be found under the Also published as section.


Where can I find a list of all the kind codes?

For an overview of all the kind codes corresponding to the different publication stages of a patent application, go to the kind code concordance list in Useful tables and statistics, codes and coverage under Updated regularly.


Why do some WO documents have a B1 kind code when the original document has the code A2 or A3?

If the claims are amended in a WO document, WIPO keeps the kind code "A1" for both publications. However the EPO assigns the kind code B1 to distinguish between the two documents in its database.


Why is it that certain documents are not displayed in the result list?

To eliminate duplicates, we show only one document per patent family, and the document that is not shown is probably a duplicate ("equivalent"). By clicking on the title of a document, you will be able to view the bibliographic data as well as the Also published as section, where all duplicates are listed.


Why are some sidebar options deactivated for certain documents?

Although the Espacenet database is continually being expanded to include additional countries and to provide more extensive coverage, we do not have all data items for all documents. For example, we may have the bibliographic data for a particular document, but not its full text or images. In this case, the sidebar options normally used to access the type of data that is missing are deactivated. They are re activated when the content becomes available.


Do all records have a facsimile version of the complete document?

No, in some cases, the facsimile of the requested document cannot be retrieved. You can however view the facsimile of a corresponding document, where available. The European Patent Office endeavours to obtain facsimile versions of all published patent applications.


Why do I sometimes find the abstract of a corresponding document?

The aim of Espacenet is to have an English-language abstract available for each set of corresponding patents (also known as "equivalents"). When a document retrieved during a search does not have an English abstract, but there is one available for a corresponding document, the latter is displayed. More ...


When are the abstracts loaded?

Abstracts are normally loaded approximately one month after the publication date , although this depends on availability and delivery from the national offices and patent-granting authorities.


Do all records have an English-language abstract?

In some cases neither the title nor the abstract has been translated into English. English-language abstracts are available for all patent specifications covered by the PCT Minimum Documentation and their corresponding documents. Some documents do not have translated titles or abstracts. This is why you cannot find them using keywords, and have to use other search criteria such as classification instead.


How do you find out if a patent or patent application is still in force?

To access the legal status information, select INPADOC legal status from the sidebar on the left-hand side of the Bibliographic data view. This information is based on data the EPO receives from the national patent offices. If you click on the Register link (where activated) for a particular country in the Bibliographic data view this takes you straight to the corresponding entry in the relevant national register, so you can look up legal status information at source.

To be absolutely sure about the actual status of a patent, we recommend that you contact the appropriate patent office or patent-granting authority direct.


How up to date is the legal status information in Espacenet?

Like all other patent databases, the correctness of the data in INPADOC and the extent to which that data is up to date depends on the co-operating patent offices. In particular, delays in the delivery of bibliographic or legal status data can vary significantly depending on the country concerned and the time period covered. More ...


Where can I find information on the status of European patent applications/patents?

Legal status information on European and Euro-PCT applications (i.e. where and whether a patent is valid) is available in the European Patent Register , where you can also access the publicly available parts of the application file, including documentation generated at the grant stage (and any opposition/appeal procedures). The Register also offers deep links to national patent registers (available only after grant) which indicate what has happened to a European patent in a particular member state. These are available in the Legal status section.

To access the European Patent Register from Espacenet, all you have to do is click on the EP Register button on the Bibliographic data screen.


What is the coverage of the worldwide patent database?

The worldwide database contains information about published patent applications from over 90 patent-granting authorities. See Latest bibliographic coverage and Latest full-text coverage for the available data and any gaps.


Where can I find the address of inventors and applicants?

If you are looking for entire addresses in the case of EP and Euro-PCT documents, click the EP Register button on the Bibliographic data screen. You will find the complete addresses of inventors and/or applicants (plus representatives) in the European Patent Register.


Can I save my query?

Yes, you can activate or deactivate the query history by selecting or deselecting the relevant box under the Settings tab. The current limit is 50 queries.


Can I export the complete result list in Espacenet in one go?

No. All lists (e.g. Result list, My patents list, etc.) can be exported as CSV or XLS files to another application. However they can only be exported page by page (30 documents in compact mode and 15 in extended mode). More ...


How do I download documents?

To download a European patent (country code EP) or an international patent document (country code WO) of up to 500 pages, select Original document from the sidebar option on the left, click Download and follow the instructions provided. If the document contains over 500 pages, "Document too large" will appear and you will have to save the document one page at a time. More ...


Do I need to enable cookies on my PC?

You have to enable (permit) cookies on your PC. Otherwise, you will only be able to see the first page in the print preview and will only be able to print that page. If you don't, you may also be unable to save documents in the My patents list. So if your internet browser is always (or automatically) set to disable cookies, you will have to change your settings for our website and start again from the Espacenet homepage.


Is there an alert service to monitor patent documents in a particular technical field?

If you want to receive a notification when new publications are added to the database, you can subscribe to an RSS feed of your result list in Espacenet. More ...


Can I extract statistics from Espacenet?

No. Espacenet cannot be used to extract and aggregate data. For this we recommend PATSTAT. Detailed information on this topic can be found under Patent statistics on the EPO website.