Searching Outside the Box: Free EP Patent Searching in EuroPatentBox

[tweetmeme source=”Intellogist” only_single=false]  Free patent search sites are an excellent supplemental search tool for prior art searchers, who can use these free search systems in combination with subscription patent systems and non-patent literature search tools.  In past blog posts, we’ve looked at free patent search sites for US patent documents, but today we’ll explore a nifty site called EuroPatentBox, which allows users to search through a “continuously updated database of all patent applications filed in the EU since 1978,” according to the site’s homepage.  The site is run by the European Patent Foundation, and users can search the site for free without registration or create a free account to access features like alerts, a saved “quicklist”, and the ability to add comments to patent records (a feature available to both registered and non-registered users). EuroPatentBox certainly doesn’t have the coverage of Espacenet, but the site may be a useful search tool due to the free account features and the organized lists of categories, applicants, and inventors available on the site.

Read on to learn about the search capabilities and free account tools of EuroPatentBox!

Searching EuroPatentBox

Users have two main options for searching through EuroPatentBox.  Through the top menu on the site homepage, users browse the site under three available tabs:

  • By Categories – Browse through a hierarchical menu of IPC code categories, with the most recent relevant patent documents listed below the menu.  Some category lists don’t appear to contain the most recent patent applications.  For example, the most recent documents in the list “Categories » Textiles; paper » Paper-making; production of cellulose” are from 2009, but the narrower category list “Categories » Textiles; paper » Paper-making; production of cellulose » Paper-making machines; methods of producing paper thereon” contains documents from 2011.

View EP patent documents related to IPC categories.

  • By Applicants – Browse through an alphabetical list of applicant names, with country of origin and number of patents related to the applicant listed beside the name.  Select the name to view a list of all related patent documents (organized by year).
  • By Inventors – Browse through an alphabetical list of inventor names, with country of origin and number of patents related to the inventor listed beside the name.  Select the name to view a list of all related patent documents (organized by year).
Users can also search the site through a quick keyword search form or an advanced search form (accessible as a drop-down menu under the quick search form).  The advanced form allows the user to search in a number of fields (title, description, patent number, applicant, inventor, date range, applicant number, priority number, or Classification (IPC) number).

The advanced search form (below the quick search form).

Search results are limited to 1000 patent records.  The hit list displays the results in no discernible order (maybe by relevancy), and there are no options for sorting the search results.  The hit list displays 30 results per page, and each result lists the document title, an excerpt from the record, and the publication date.  The user can select the document title to view the full record.


The full version of each document record includes bibliographic details, abstract, claim, description, mosaic images (if available), and a downloadable version of the original document via Espacenet (the user must first enter a ReCAPTCHA code before downloading the document).  In the side menu beside the full record, the system lists documents which the record is “also published as” (A1 and B1 documents).  Through the full record, non-registered users can report data errors and add comments to the document record (non-registered users must enter their name, email, and a ReCAPTCHA code).

Both registered and non-registered users can add comments to the full record for a patent document.

Account Features

Users can register to create a free account and utilize additional search features, including:

  • Alerts – Create alerts based on a keyword search, and select to receive the alert on a daily, weekly, or as-it-happens basis.

Create alerts through keyword searches.

  • “Quicklist” – Add patent records, via an “Add to quicklist” button on the full record, to a saved quicklist of patents.  Access the list via the “My patents” tab on your profile page.  The list displays title and date for each record, and the list is sortable by title (alphabetically) or publication date in ascending or descending order.

Add a record to your quicklist.

  • Newsletters – Option to receive industry trend newsletters.


If you are searching for EP patent documents, the EuroPatentBox site can be an excellent supplemental tool to use in combination with Espacenet and subscription patent databases (like PatBase or TotalPatent).   The coverage of EuroPatentBox is limited to EP patent documents since 1978 (both applications and granted patents appear to be available), and the site relies heavily (if not fully) on Espacenet for bibliographic data, mosaics, and links to the PDF version of the document.  Espacenet has document save and alert features, but users can’t create a personal account on Espacenet to permanently save a list of patent documents, which they can do on EuroPatentBox.  EuroPatentBox also has the unique feature of record comments, where both registered and non-registered users can post public comments to a full document record, which all subsequent users can then view.

Do you know of any other free patent search sites for EP patent documents?  We’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Patent Searches from Landon IP

This post was contributed by Joelle Mornini. The Intellogist blog is provided for free by Intellogist’s parent company Landon IP, a major provider of patent searches, trademark searches, technical translations, and information retrieval services.


9 Responses

  1. Minor correction: European Patents have no connection with the EU and indeed cover nonmember countries such as Turkey and Switzerland.

  2. Did you ever try a classification search on Espacenet?

    then copy the relevant class(es) into the advanced form and go from there

    The latest version of Espacenet will even show you relevant first page clipping when you mouse over a class in the result list or bibliographic data once you turn the feature on in the settings panel:

  3. Advanced searching?

    • The advanced search form on EuroPatentBox is very basic, in comparison to Espacenet’s advanced search form and its smart search option that incorporates a sort of command line search feature.

  4. […] Searching Outside the Box: Free EP Patent Searching in EuroPatentBox (The Intellogist) […]

  5. It seems that the site ( is down. Does anyone have an idea whether this is of temporary or permanent nature?

  6. It still seems to be down today…I’m not sure if maybe it’s temporarily down because of the EPO maintenance on their online services this weekend (the site probably gets most of its data from OPS/Espacenet) or if this is permanent. I’ll look into it, thanks for letting us know!

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