[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!
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.
- 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 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.
- “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.
- 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!
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.