Worldwide legal event information is essential for a broad variety of our customers, ranging from occasional users of patent information to professional and frequent users.
Legal event information is used, for instance, for market analysis, freedom-to-operate searches, decision-making for business investments and statistical studies.
A legal event is any procedural step during the grant procedure as well as at the post-grant stage. Examples include "application filed", "office action sent" and "maintenance fee paid".
You can use this data to work out the legal status of an application or IP right, e.g. whether an application is active or a patent has lapsed.
The information comes from patent authority gazettes, registers, web services, etc., and is uploaded into a database that currently contains more than 250 million legal events.
Over the last decades, the EPO has played its part in providing, via the EPO worldwide legal status database (INPADOC), high-quality legal event data from numerous patent authorities worldwide. With an astonishing variety of legal event data, the database has become a key resource for users of EPO commercial patent data services. Today, it sets the standard in its field and is constantly improved to keep pace with the demands and expectations of patent information users.
You can consult legal event data via many EPO products and services.
The most prominent of these are the European Patent Register and Espacenet. The data is also available via products like PATSTAT and GPI (Global Patent Index) as well as the web service OPS (Open Patent Services). Commercial providers include the data in their products and services and offer it via a number of tools to their own customers.
Legal event data is classified to give it added value and make it more readily accessible.
All the legal event codes present in the INPADOC database and in use since 1997 have been classified according to the INPADOC classification scheme, by category level.
The category level forms the top level of this scheme and is modelled on the category level of the WIPO ST.27 standard.
WIPO ST.27, in turn, is the outcome of a joint initiative taken by WIPO and other patent offices to improve the exchange and usability of legal event data.
You will find more information on the INPADOC classification scheme and WIPO ST. 27 in the documents below: