For more than a century, patent gazettes have played a vital role in providing access to the most recent patent data of a jurisdiction. They often include the very earliest reference to a new technical invention and give readers information about many other details, such as legal status changes or a change of patent owner. Patent gazettes are therefore much more than regular publications by IP authorities. They are a powerful instrument for patent monitoring.
In this issue, we will give you a non-exhaustive overview of patent gazettes and some examples from various jurisdictions, including the EPO.
The origins of patent gazettes date back to the Paris Convention of 1883. Article 12 stipulates that each member state must publish an official periodical on newly protected inventions, including the names of the patent proprietors and a brief abstract of the patent.
While the original intention was merely to inform the public about granted patents, the gazettes now include a much broader range of information, such as:
Fig. 1: The first European Patent Bulletin, published on 20 December 1978.
In most jurisdictions, patent gazettes include information relating to two publication stages: usually the publication of the application 18 months after filing (or priority), and the publication of the granted right.
In some cases, however, patent gazettes supply early notifications even before an application is published. For example, in the Revista da Propriedade Industrial of the Brazilian Patent Office, there is a section for PCT applications entering the national phase in Brazil. This section provides basic information about these applications long before these documents are formally published.
Similar "early notifications" are also included in the Patents Journal of the Singapore Patent Office. Apart from the "regular" sections for granted patents and publication of applications 18 months after filing (or priority), the journal also offers an overview of new applications filed only a few weeks before ("Applications for patents filed" section, see Fig. 2). However, this section is limited to very basic bibliographic data: the name of the applicant, the title of the invention, the application number and the filing date.
Fig. 2: Extract from the Patents Journal of the Singapore Patent Office of 28 April 2022, "Applications for patents filed" section, with data on applications filed a few weeks before in March 2022. (Click to enlarge)
The EPO's official gazette is the European Patent Bulletin, which has been published weekly at 14.00 hrs CET since 1978. It contains bibliographic and procedural status information for European patent applications and patents.
You can download each complete Bulletin publication free of charge on the Download Bulletin file page of the EPO website.
In addition, the EPO offers the free EP Bulletin search service, a powerful online search tool which allows you to conduct complex search queries for the bibliographic and procedural information included in the European Patent Bulletin. You can select and combine up to 80 different search criteria, download documents and even configure some basic parameters from the results for statistics.
You can also use the EP Bulletin search to regularly monitor new publications in a specific technical field or from a certain applicant. Using the search criterion "cwe" (=current week) in your query, you can limit search results to those documents published on the most recent publication date. In the example below, we used "cwe" combined with keywords and an IPC class and received two results:
Fig. 3: EP Bulletin search example using the search criterion "cwe" (=current week)
Digitisation has opened the door to fast and easy data transfer between IP authorities. So much so that the legal data available from patent gazettes worldwide is also shared between the IP authorities. At the EPO, data is brought together from patent gazettes in the INPADOC worldwide legal events database and displayed as part of its products and services, e.g. in the legal events section of Espacenet, the Global Patent Index and the European Patent Register.
For a detailed overview of the European Patent Bulletin and the Bulletin search, see Patent Knowledge News on 20 June 2022.