The following text is adapted from Google resources:
To search for a document, type a few descriptive words in the search box and press the Enter key or click the Search button. A results page appears with a list of documents and pages that are related to your search terms, with the most relevant search results appearing at the top of the page. By default, only pages that include all of your search terms are returned. So, if you want to broaden your search, use fewer terms. Conversely, to narrow your search, include more terms. You do not need to include "and" between the terms. For example, to search for "patent fees 2011", type the following:
The search engine uses text-matching techniques to find pages that are both important and relevant to your search. For instance, it analyses not only the candidate page, but also the pages that link to it. It also prefers pages in which your query terms are near to each other. Every search result shows an excerpt from the document, to display the search terms in context. In the excerpt, your search terms are displayed in bold so that you can quickly see if it is a page or document you want to visit.
If the spell checker has detected a possible spelling mistake in any of the following languages:
it will return a spelling suggestion with the results. The spell checker feature is context-sensitive.
Your browser's language setting affects how the search engine handles spelling corrections.
For information on how to change your browser's language setting, read the browser help information.
Searches are not case-sensitive. All letters, regardless of how you enter them, are handled as lower case. For example, searches for "European Patent Convention," "European patent convention," and "european patent convention" return the same results.
Because they tend to slow down your search without improving the results, the search engine ignores some common terms, including:
If a common word is essential to getting the results you want, you can include it by putting a plus ("+") sign in front of it. Include a space before the "+" sign, but not after it.
Alternatively, you can enclose a series of words with quotation marks and do a phrase search.
By default, search results are sorted by relevance, with the most relevant result appearing at the top of the page. If you want to sort the documents by date instead, click the "Sort by date" link. The most recent document then appears at the top of the page. Results that do not contain dates are displayed at the end and are sorted by relevance.
When you search for numbers, do not use exponential numbers, such as "1e10," or negative integers, such as "-12."
Numbers that are separated by commas are treated as separate figures, not fractional numbers. In other words, the comma is treated as a term separator, not a decimal separator. For example, if you type "3,75", the search query is treated as a search for two separate terms, "3" and "75", not the decimal fraction "three and three quarters." Commas that separate every three digits are ignored and are not necessary. For example, "10,000" and "10000" are treated alike.
You can expand your search by using the OR operator. To retrieve pages that include either word A or word B, use an uppercase OR between terms. For example, to search for an EPO office in either Munich or Vienna, type the following:
Since the search engine returns only web pages that contain all of the words in your query, refining (or narrowing) your search is as simple as adding more words to the search terms you have already entered. The refined query returns a subset of the pages that were returned by your original broad query. If that does not get the results that you want, you can try to exclude words, search for exact phrases, or restrict the search to a range of numbers.
If your search term has more than one meaning, you can focus your search by adding a minus sign ("-") in front of words related to the meaning you want to avoid. Make sure you include a space before the minus sign. You can daisy chain a list of words you want to exclude.
For example, to search for the term "fees" and exclude search results about the PCT procedure, type the following query:
The search engine returns pages that do not contain the word "PCT."
You can search for an exact phrase or name in the following ways:
Phrase connectors and quotation marks join your search words as a single unit. For example, if you type the following query, the search engine treats it as a phrase search even though the search words are not enclosed in quotation marks.
By default all the available board of appeal case types are selected and will be part of the search results matching your query. These case types are:
If you would like to exclude certain case types from your search, simply de-select them from the interface.
If you want to run your query within a certain time window, you can use the drop-down list to choose from a predefined list of options. The following example would show only those documents that match your search query AND have been published on the website in the past 7 days. If you want to see all documents published in a certain time window, you can leave the search field empty, choose the time range and then click on the search button.
By default your search results will show the metadata of the decisions, which will help you to quickly determine whether a given decision is relevant or not. If you prefer to read your search result list without the metadata, de-select the "Show metadata" option and you will only see the context of your query in each result.
When you open the decision from the list of search results, please check the box "Highlight search terms" just below the page title.
To be notified whenever a new decision meeting particular criteria is published on the EPO website, you can subscribe to an RSS feed.
The example in the screenshot shows a search for the terms "cryogenic OR F25B" in all T decisions published in 2011.
You can access this search profile with an RSS reader of your choice. Simply copy the link "Use this link to subscribe to an RSS feed for these search criteria" and paste it into your RSS reader.
For more help on RSS feeds, see Help on RSS feeds.