11 March 2021
On Monday 15 March 2021 at 16:00 CET, the EPO will begin activating a BOT protection system for the European Patent Register. By the end of March, it will be fully activated for all users and access types.
Once activated, if the system detects what appears to be a scripted or automated access, you may be re-directed to a CAPTCHA page which will be displayed in three languages. You will then be asked to prove that you are not a robot by clicking on a check box. Once submitted, the originally requested page will be displayed.
This measure has been implemented to prevent abusive and excessive accesses to the European Patent Register from computer robots or BOTs - contrary to the conditions published on the EPO website. Attacks of this nature in late 2019 resulted in outages of the Register as well as impacting operations.
By implementing a BOT protection system that detects abusive accesses and blocks the only offending users, the current limits can be safely removed for all others.
If you see the CAPTCHA page and believe that your access has been miscategorised, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to report what you were trying to do and give the requested details needed to diagnose the incident.
If you would like automated access to data from the EPO databases, please use the Open Patent Services (OPS). OPS is a web service that provides access to the EPO's raw data via a standardised XML interface. The data is extracted from the EPO's bibliographic (EPODOC), the Worldwide Legal Status Database, full-text (EPOQUE) and image (BNS) databases and is therefore from the same sources as the data in Espacenet and the European Patent Register. Automatic (robot) access is welcomed on OPS, but within certain limits so it does not overwhelm the system. The maximum volume of traffic allowed for bulk download by robots is 1 Mbit/second.