FAQ - Espacenet patent search

What is Espacenet?

Espacenet offers free access to more than 130 million patent documents worldwide, containing information about inventions and technical developments from 1782 to today. It has a user-friendly interface available in almost all European languages. It enables users with little or no experience in patent searching to obtain an overview of the state of the art, to follow new developments or to find out who invented what.

New Espacenet, a substantially revised and improved version of Espacenet with state-of-the-art features and enhanced functionality, was released in November 2019.

What can the Espacenet service do for me?

You can use Espacenet to:

  • watch new technologies emerge;
  • find solutions to your technical problems;
  • get a sneak preview of what your competitors are developing;
  • machine-translate patent documents using the Patent Translate feature.

Where can I find online help?

Espacenet offers you a lot of useful information to help you with your searches. You can look for answers to your questions in these FAQs, the discussion forum, the application glossary or the What has changed document.

The glossary is accessible via the “Help” button in Espacenet.

Does the European Patent Office carry out searches for users?

No. Espacenet was set up to enable users to conduct their own searches in patent documents and to give them a wide range of search options.

What is the coverage of the worldwide Espacenet database?

The worldwide database contains information on published patent applications and granted patents from over 100 patent-granting authorities.

You should always check whether there are any gaps in the data provided.

Where can I find information on the status of European patent applications/patents?

The European Patent Register contains all the publicly available information on European patent applications as they pass through the grant procedure, including oppositions, patent attorney/EPO correspondence and more. This service also provides for public file inspection.

To access the European Patent Register from Espacenet, simply click on the Register hyperlink above the bibliographic data, description or claims views.

How do I find out if a patent or patent application is still in force?

  • For EP and Euro-PCT patent publications consult the European Patent Register (see FAQ “Where can I find information on the status of European patent applications/patents?”).
  • For non-EP patent documents and patent applications of some member states there is a link to the respective national patent office’s register on the legal status tab in the European Patent Register. For a number of member states, a link is also available to their register above the bibliographic data, description and claims views.
  • For patent documents of non-member states, select the legal events tab and verify the correctness of the information by contacting the respective national patent authority.

How up-to-date is the legal status information in Espacenet?

As in all other patent databases, the correctness of the data found under the legal events tab and the extent to which that data is up-to-date depends on the national patent offices. In particular, delays in the delivery of bibliographic or legal status data can vary significantly, depending on the country concerned and the time period covered.

What do the letters A and B stand for after a European publication number?

To find out what the different codes mean go to Kind codes.

How can I search for the country of the applicant or inventor?

In classic Espacenet it was possible to search for the applicant or inventor country with square brackets, e.g. pa = [de]. In new Espacenet this function is only possible via the filter function, where you can include or exclude individual applicant or inventor countries. The advantage of this approach is that you get a statistical evaluation of the applicant and inventor countries in the result set, without having to query each country individually.

Can I search for non-patent literature (XP) documents?

Espacenet is a patent database. You can't use it to search for non-patent literature or specific XP numbers, at least not directly. However, if you know an XP number, you can search for citing patent documents by using the ct field identifier in the search field (smart search) i.e. ct = [XP number] or the Cited documents search field in Advanced search. Then, in the Citations, Cited documents view of each retrieved patent document, you'll find information about the document registered under that XP number.

When will classic Espacenet be discontinued and when will the classic Espacenet national/regional interfaces be migrated to new Espacenet?

The date for the migration of the national and regional interfaces from classic Espacenet to new Espacenet has not yet been decided. This means that the date for discontinuing classic Espacenet has not been decided yet either. It is planned that the links which work with classic Espacenet will also work with new Espacenet.

Quick Navigation