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Patents and Research: Espacenet

Brief description of the main classification systems within the patent area


What is Espacenet

Espacenet is one of the most comprehensive patent searching tool available for free. It is developed and provided by the EPO (European Patent Office). You have access to more than 130 million patent documents from over 100 countries, their national and regional patent offices.

It provides European, UK and worldwide coverage back to 1836. Full images of documents for many countries are available in Espacent, back to 1920. If you need earlier documents, you can check with the patent office of origin. 

Espacenet - Key strengths

  • Very broad and deep coverage.
  • Perhaps the best range of complete original documents in one free product
  • Advanced search in English, French and German
  • Classification search
  • Select office/language for the Espacenet interface - 38 offices, multiple languages and countries
  • Machine translation:
    • Espacenet will translate from English, French and German into 28 other EU languages (and vice versa).

    • Espacenet will also translate Chinese, Russian, Japanese and Korean into English, and vice versa.

  • Legal events and status information 
  • Patent families, citing and cited patents
  • Claims tree - visualisation of the hierarchy of a patent's claims 

Quick introduction to Espacenet

GPI - Global Patent Index

GPI is a powerful tool that enables you to perform detailed searches in the EPO's worldwide bibliographic, legal event and full-text data sets
(NB! This is not a free product)

With the GPI you can:

  • perform regular monitoring (e.g. monthly or quarterly) of technical areas or companies to identify newly added patent documents
  • use the built-in charts to visualise technical trends and companies' patenting activity in your presentations and reports
  • choose the data you want to see and download to focus on what you are interested in
  • run data quality assessments to measure the risk of incomplete search results


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