The INPADOC database

The EPO's INPADOC database is a collection of bibliographical data from patent documents, i.e. patent applications and granted patents, and the legal status of these documents. The INPADOC database may also include some procedural information and statements of payments of renewal fees.

Like many other databases, Espacenet has to rely on the correctness of the data supplied by third parties – in this case the co-operating patent offices – and on the extent to which that data is up to date. 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.

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

INPADOC legal status

When we talk about the “legal status” of a patent or patent application we mean the entries made or procedural steps taken during the patent-granting process and throughout the lifetime of the patent. Espacenet retrieves the legal status data from the EPO's INPADOC database, giving you a good indication of whether a patent is in force, has been abandoned, has expired or has changed ownership.

A list of worldwide legal status codes, contents and coverage can be found in the Useful tables and statistics, coverage and content section on the EPO’s website. You should always check this information for gaps or delays in the delivery of documentation and legal status information. To be absolutely certain of the status of a patent, we recommend contacting the relevant patent office or patent-granting authority direct.

INPADOC patent family

An INPADOC patent family is defined as comprising all the documents sharing directly or indirectly (e.g. via a third document) at least one priority. This includes all the patent documents resulting from a patent application submitted as a first filing with a patent office and from the same patent application filed within the priority year with a patent office in any other country.