Free Asian Patent Searching Information from the EPO Virtual Helpdesk

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Here at Intellogist, we’ve always prided ourselves on reaching out to the global patent community. As part of this we’ve done many posts on one of the fastest growing patent regions: Asia. In the past few months alone we’ve done posts commenting on translations, chemical and sequence searching in China, and lessons learned from PATINEX 2011 in Korea.

Our sponsor, Landon IP knows that it’s more important than ever to incorporate Asian sources into any prior art search, and not just stick to the same old US and EP databases that English language searchers might be used to.

Intellogist reflects this belief, with resources such as the Interactive Patent Coverage Map for finding patent information around the world. Our Community Reports page is another great place to find niche search systems and tools; check out our China Patent Search tagged articles for example.

With this global focus in mind, let’s take a look at one of our favorite Asian patent information resources on the web: the EPO’s Asian Patent Information Virtual Helpdesk.

Read on to find out about how the Virtual Helpdesk can assist you with finding answers to your common questions, information about grant procedure and numbering, statistics on filing, and even a starter for your next patent search.

The EPO Asian Virtual Helpdesk has pages for the following patenting authorities:

As you might notice by visiting those pages, they follow a structured format consisting of the following sections:



The FAQ section has the most common questions related to each patent authority.

As you might expect, the FAQ section is a list of common questions and answers. Should you have a more specific question that cannot be answered by the FAQ, you are encouraged to: send in the question via contact form, email (including legal questions), or call the Asian Patent Information Services desk directly.

As it is, I’ve found the FAQ section for the various patenting authorities to be quite helpful!

Facts and Figures

Facts and Figures

The facts and figures section focuses on graphics showing filing trends.

This section contains graphical representations of filing trends by year per every patenting authority. At the bottom of the page, a link to the annual report that the set of graphics was derived from is conveniently displayed.

This page is excellent for getting a birds eye view of patenting activity within each authority (or to beef up on trivia to impress your friends).

Grant Procedure

Patent Procedure

Flowcharts make the information easy to understand.

The Grant Procedure section contains flowcharts showing all the possible branches and events that can happen from application to grant (and beyond) in the 5 different patenting authorities. In cases where granting procedure has changed, previous systems are sometimes displayed for reference purposes.

Who doesn’t like a good clean flowchart?

Numbering System

Numbering System

Original language and transliteration versions are provided.

Anyone who has had to struggle with an Asian language document (as a non-native speaker) to figure out exactly what the dates meant can find safe haven in this section. Do you know the difference between Japanese imperial years versus Western years? Break out your calculators, class!

Useful Terms & Searching In Databases


The terms section gives you a visual representation and translation to English.

The Useful Terms section provides translations for patent-specific legal terms such as “inventor,” “utility model,” and “examiner.” This section can be used to copy and paste the Asian characters into your document of choice, or simply as a pronunciation guide.

Hand-in-hand with the Useful Terms section goes the Searching In Databases section. Here you’ll find a treasure trove of PDF guides on various topics relating to searching non-English databases. These often have step by step illustrated guides to assist you on your prior art search.

The EPO Asian Virtual Helpdesk is a great resource to consult when you’ve got that tricky intellectual property question about China, Taipei, India, Japan, or Korea. It can be a good place to go to start expanding your prior art search horizons. If you’re interested in having a prior art search done by a native language speaker with the expertise of a company dedicated to serving your needs, we recommend contacting Landon IP’s global prior art search team.

Patent Searches from Landon IP

This post was contributed by Intellogist Team member Chris Jagalla. 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.


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