​​Espacenet now offers more than 150 million freely accessible patent documents from around the world​

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The European Patent Office (EPO) is pleased to announce that our worldwide Espacenet database now offers more than 150 million patent documents, containing comprehensive data about a wealth of inventions and technical developments. The database is the world’s largest, freely accessible single source of patent information, gathered from more than 100 patent authorities around the world. 

Improving access to patent knowledge for all 

Around 3.5 million applications are filed at patent offices globally each year. Democratising this growing mass of technical information – by making that data not only accessible, but navigable, understandable and insightful – is key to a sustainable patent system and society.  

Our free-to-use patent database, Espacenet, has remained central to improving access to patent knowledge for all 25 years of its public service. For the past decade, Espacenet has also been fully aligned with the evolution of the world’s most sophisticated patent classification scheme for categorising inventions, the Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) scheme, developed in collaboration with the USPTO and other partners.  

Espacenet is updated daily, enabling all users to track the progress of emerging technologies, find solutions to technical problems and understand the latest developments in all technology markets. The database can help inventors, scientists and researchers avoid duplicating the work of others, instead using the information to make the next breakthrough and keep moving the state-of-the-art forward. Access to patent information can inform competitive analysis and business success, as well as provide crucial insights during the search for technology partners, suppliers and customers. It also enables applicants to run reliable searches with confidence before even submitting their patent applications, helping to improve the quality of the subsequent search and examination process at the EPO.  

Making patent data easier to navigate for all 

More recently, a series of technology platforms have been launched to run on Espacenet that make it easier for inventors, scientists, researchers, engineers and policymakers to explore the enormous wealth of patent knowledge on offer. The platforms currently cover areas such as cancer, clean energy technologies, coronavirus and firefighting, with more to follow. An overview, including all the EPO’s latest dashboards, data tools, Chief Economist studies and patent insight reports, is provided by the Observatory on Patents and Technology, via the EPO’s new Data desk.  

Further guidance on how to use Espacenet, including via the latest platforms developed by the EPO, is available below.