With an average of five hundred thousand users a month and relied upon by patent attorneys and patent professionals worldwide, the European Patent Register is the EPO's main platform and go to source for publicly available legal and procedural documentation and data information for EP and EURO-PCT applications.
But what happens when you want to find patent documents that are in a particular procedural phase or even conduct a collective analysis of the data found? While such tasks exceed the scope of the Register, they are easy to carry out with its strong backend sister resource, the European Patent Bulletin search tool (EP Bulletin search).
Thus, while the Register provides access to EP documentation, communications and images in PDF format, the EP Bulletin search tool goes further than the Register and offers some additional features that increase the usability experience and possibilites of what can be done with bibliographic and procedural events.
The following is an example of an EP Bulletin search query for European patent applications for which an applicant filed requests for examination (search criteria PSEX) in a given quarter:
The search can be refined by adding other query components such as an IPC class.
The added value of this tool lies above all in the following five different ways it lets you perform analyses and customisations and work with bibliographic and legal event data.
You can search and combine up to 80 different bibliographic and legal event data search criteria, whereas the Register has 20 search criteria and a limitation of 10 search criteria combined.
You can create statistics in the EP Bulletin search tool with the same bibliographic data as in the Register and more because of the increased number of search criteria permitted – and you have the possibility to include legal event data.
Figure 1 Example of statistical visualisation in EP Bulletin search (Click to enlarge)
Besides the date of grant, there are no other legal event search criteria available in the Register. However, in EP Bulletin search you have up to 38 legal event data search possibilities that combined will accelerate your search in both tools.
Figure 2 Example of searchable legal event data in examination in EP Bulletin search (Click to enlarge)
Depending on your needs, you can customise the result list content and download it in either XLSX, CSV or XML to further process in Excel, e.g to create user-specific statistics and reports.
Once the Unitary Patent protection (UPP) system is in force (planned for early 2023), you will be able to search by UPP search criteria exclusively in the EP Bulletin search tool; you will be able to view legal events in the Register.
EP Bulletin search is basically a searchable version of the European Patent Bulletin and is available free of charge via the Patent information services for experts platform. To use it, you need to know the basics of Boolean operators, but don't let that discourage you! You can find all the information you need, and more, in the EP Bulletin search user manual. Otherwise, go to the tool's homepage, where you'll find more information to help you get started.