A simple patent family is a collection of patent documents
that are considered to cover a single invention. The technical content covered
by the applications is considered to be identical. Members of a simple patent
family will all have exactly the same priorities.
When building simple patent families, the EPO's automated
process does not take into account all the priorities listed in the
bibliographic data on Espacenet.
The priorities taken into account are:
A first filing is a foreign application claimed under the
A provisional first filing is a US provisional application.
to first filings
An equivalent to a first filing is a US continuation in
The automated process excludes:
that are a continuation of an existing parent application
that are a division of an existing parent application
Continuations and divisions are considered to cover the same
technical content as the parent application. Continuations and divisions will
always be in a patent family with the parent application, regardless of the
priorities that they claim.
EPO products and services that show
simple patent families:
- In Espacenet
the DOCDB simple patent family is shown under the heading "Also published
Open Patent Services (OPS) web service contains the same data as Espacenet; you
can view the simple patent family in the OPS published-data service by using
the constituent "equivalents"
Global Patent Index (GPI) has a heading "EPO simple family", in
indicates the simple patent family, but only by giving the family ID
simple patent family is available in the bulk data set EPO worldwide
bibliographic database (DOCDB) (the back file indicates only the family ID; the
front file shows all family members)
This information is updated daily.