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Learn more about patent documents and searching by taking our interactive Patent information tour.

Patent information tour


EPO Patent Information Conference

Learn about the European patent system, participate in technical discussions and training courses and view Europe's leading patent information exhibition.

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Patent information essentials

Patent search basics (JPG)

Information for those interested in using patent information and EPO data.

About patent information

Patent information is basically the technical information found in patent documents, plus any legal information about them. Use it to find out what already exists, keep track of who’s doing what, avoid infringing other people’s patent rights, and improve the quality of your own patent applications.

Information on EPO data

Practical information for users of EPO data; latest additions to databases; data structure; type and format.

Patent classification

The total number of patents is so large that a sophisticated standard classification system is essential. Patent offices worldwide use the International Patent Classification (IPC). The European Classification System (ECLA) is an extension to the IPC and used by the EPO.

Business use

Patent information provides a wealth of information for people involved in business, especially corporate decision-makers, investors, managers and innovators working in research and development.