EPO offices closed from 23.12.2017 to 1.1.2018

All our offices will be closed over the holiday period from 23 December 2017 and will open again on 2 January 2018.






How much does it cost to use PatXML?

Nothing. PatXML is an EPO product and is available to the public free of charge.

On which operating systems and Word versions can I install PatXML?

Windows 98, 2000, XP/2002, Vista (32-bit edition), Windows 7, and Word 97, 2000, XP/2002, 2003 and 2007. Word 2010 as from version 1.35.

Note: You must have these installed for PatXML to work. We recommend using Windows 2000 and above.

Why was MS Word chosen over any of the other word-processing systems available (e.g. WordPerfect) for PatXML?

Most people now use Word as their preferred word processor. However, if you wish, you can still author your applications in WordPerfect or any other word processor and import them into PatXML, but you will still need MS Word.

What is XML and why convert data from Word to XML?

XML stands for eXtensible Mark-up Language. XML is a simple but flexible text format derived from SGML (ISO 8879). The EPO has been using SGML for 23 years. Originally designed to meet the challenges of large-scale electronic publishing, XML is now also playing an increasingly important role in the exchange of a wide variety of data on the Web and elsewhere.

Word is not the only word-processing system, and Word will change. XML, on the other hand, will not. It is a system- and software-independent method of storing and marking up data. Four big patent offices - the EPO, JPO, USPTO and WIPO - have agreed to use a common (XML) standard for marking up applications and other patent documents. This will make it easier for applicants to file the same application with any of these offices and for offices to exchange data.

When I try to install PatXML I get the message "Arial Unicode MS font is absent in the operating system". What do I need to do?

If you have Windows 2000 or above, this font (Arialuni.TTF) is available on your installation CD. Otherwise contact your system administrator for help.

I imported/pasted in an image using PatXML and noticed a change to the image. What happened?

When importing an image, PatXML converts it to an agreed standard - TIFF (Tagged Image File Format) - in which Fax Group 4 encoded images are embedded. Group 4 is defined in recommendation T.6 of the ITU-T (Telecommunication Standardization Sector of the International Telecommunications Union) and supports two-dimensional image compression, compressing both line width and length. Fax Group 4 can achieve compression ratios of 15:1 for office documents and 20:1 for engineering drawings with a resolution of 400 dpi. This means that any image is converted to black and white. You will get the best results in terms of quality and compression if your images are already in TIFF G4 or can be converted to it.

Can I change the font, the font size, etc. in PatXML?

No. MS Arial Unicode, 12pt is the standard for this product. If we allowed other fonts, it might be difficult to replicate what the user intended, as some fonts are not widely available.

Do I have to use headings such as "Background Art" when using PatXML?

No. These are Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) recommended headings and they are optional. If you want to insert your own headings, type the text as a paragraph and then click the "Heading" button on the tool bar at the top of the screen. The software will convert the paragraph text into a heading.

How can I delete a heading in PatXML?

Use the Content Management pop-up screen. This screen is extremely useful for adding and deleting sections or headings and for navigating around your document. You can access this screen using the Content button on the toolbar.

What can I do if I forget to put in a heading or section such as "Drawings" in PatXML?

Use the Content Management pop-up screen. This screen is extremely useful for adding and deleting sections and headings and for navigating around your document. You can access this screen using the Content button on the toolbar.

Can I put in line numbering in PatXML as recommended by Rule 49 EPC?

No. Rule 49 states that lines should "preferably" be numbered. In other words, it is not mandatory. As we move away from paper-based systems, line (and page) numbers become redundant/meaningless. That is why we introduced paragraph numbering some years ago. Data can be viewed sequentially on a computer screen and, however it is reformatted, the paragraph numbers remain the same. This would not be the case with page and line numbering.

The Article Citation/Book Citation pop-up screen in PatXML does not allow me to enter complex citations. What should I do?

You do not have to use the pop-up at all. Simply type in your citation as plain text. Later versions of PatXML will allow more complex citations, although it will probably never be possible to cover every possible citation reference.

In the Patent Citation pop-up in PatXML, when I press the "Browse for Patent" button and access Espacenet it does not find the document. Why is this?

There are a number of possible reasons for this. Either the document is not in the EPO databases, or you have entered an EP number rather than a publication number (which you can search for directly in Espacenet).

I copied a piece of text from Microsoft Word into PatXML but its formatting changed. What happened?

PatXML ignores unsupported formatting such as large fonts, coloured text, etc. in order to conform to EP standards.

If I want to lay out a text in columns or some other special layout (but not as a table), how can I do this in PatXML?

Click the "Table" button, delete the table heading, and create the layout you require, with or without cell borders.

Note: PatXML still treats the data as a table (in XML format) and the XML data will indicate that it is, for example, "tab01" (unique identifier), even if, in fact, it is not Table 1 in your document.

Can I change the working language in PatXML?

No. You have to start a new PatXML document, since PatXML 'configures' Word at start-up in such a way that the language tools available in Word, the language-specific help screens, the user interface and so on are set up for the language concerned.

Rule 47 EPC states: "The abstract shall indicate the title of the invention". In PatXML, however, it is indicated in the description. Why the difference?

PatXML is based on an internationally agreed standard based on Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) articles and rules (not those of the EPC only). PCT Rule 5.1(a) states: "The description shall first state the title of the invention as appearing in the request". PatXML follows this rule. In practice, in the EPO, we rarely see abstracts with the title and, in any case, if a title is present, it is removed before publication. If you nevertheless wish to add a title, simply add it as the first line of your abstract.

When creating and saving a new PatXML file I get the following message: "There is another PatXML application in the selected directory. Please choose a different directory for saving your application". What is happening and what should I do?

This is to prevent you overwriting work already done/saved. It means you are about to save your PatXML file and any associated image files in the same directory as a previously saved PatXML file. To continue after this, you can do two things:

  • create a unique directory for the data using the "Save As" function under File on your top tool bar, then save your PatXML document in that directory, and
  • give any new PatXML document (on the second start-up screen) a file reference, and a new folder will be created automatically under your default directory with that reference as the folder name. We recommend this as good practice. All files will then be stored within that directory, including any images, which are saved by default with the file name beginning with img001, img002, etc.

What is a definition list, what is it used for and how can I insert one into my PatXML document?

A definition list allows you to insert two-column data which is not a table, for example as follows:

EPO European Patent Office
JPO Japan Patent Office

whereby "EPO" is the term to be defined, and "European Patent Office" is the definition. In patents, this structure is often used to describe the individual figures in drawings. For example:

Figure 1 shows in schematic form an elevation view of a greenhouse relating to the invention
Figure 2 shows the greenhouse illuminator seen from the end
Figure 3 shows the greenhouse illuminator seen from the side

Does uninstalling PatXML also uninstall MS Word from my system?

No, only PatXML is uninstalled.

Shouldn't the file extension be .xml rather than .pxml?

There are a number of reasons why we decided to create the .pxml file extension:

  • to make PatXML files easily recognisable
  • for PatXML to automatically launch and open a file
  • to avoid the inconvenience of always having to use the "open with..." command.

You may of course rename your file to .xml if you wish. The EPO will accept such files.

Can I change the user reference within PatXML?

Yes, you can, via the PatXML properties window.

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