While we in the Western world were preparing for the winter holiday season, the folks at the EPO were preparing a big treat for us. The latest updates to the European Patent Register went live in December, and they’re pretty exciting. They include RSS feeds for searches or case monitoring, PDF downloading options, and even CSV/XLS exports. Click “Read more…” for a complete list and analysis!
I’ll start with what I consider the biggest news: the European Patent Register now supports RSS feeds. The text below is from the EPO news bulletin on the subject, emphasis mine:
- When searching for a company, a keyword or any other available search parameter in the EP Register [note: includes inventor/date/IPC/representative name/opponent name], now you can subscribe to an RSS feed in the “Search results” page that helps you keep track of new applications that contain your search criteria.
- Now you can also subscribe to an RSS feed to keep track of when new documents for a particular application become available in the table of contents provided in the “All documents” panel view.
These two RSS features address what used to be a constant challenge for those needing real-time updates about new European patent documents, or about new developments related to a particular patent document. And there are a LOT of those people. Great news here! As long as the RSS feed stays reliable and functional, it can be a huge asset to monitoring projects.
As an aside, I will mention how grateful I am that the European Patent Office puts money and time into critical updates for their Register. They offer a free product that is light years more advanced than the current USPTO PAIR system. Even the fact that you can perform a keyword/applicant/inventor/IPC/date/representative name/opponent name search in the EPO Register is a huge advantage. And now that RSS feeds are available as well, the Register is a great intelligence-gathering tool.
To use the new RSS feature, simply run a keyword search, or view a record and switch to the All Documents tab, and you will see the standard orange RSS icon at the top of the page. There are some good screenshots on the EPO’s announcement page.
In other exciting news, there are some valuable new download/export features:
- The All Documents tab I mentioned previously is the source for PDF documents related to the European patent’s file history, e.g. correspondence between the applicant and the inventor. You used to have to open these documents individually, but you can now download a .zip file with the entire archive. Within the .zip file, each document will be provided as a separate PDF.
- In a similar vein, you can now download bibliographic information about your search results into a CSV or XLS file format. The limit here is 20 records. The resulting spreadsheet will include the Title, Application Number, Publication Number, Applicant, and IPC.
One comment: While I appreciate the new CSV/XLS export feature, I look forward to the day when the EPO can include more columns in this spreadsheet (dates, representatives, opponents, status, etc?), and for the download limit to be raised higher than 20 documents. Without more content options, the utility of this new feature is limited. I would like to know the exact audience that this feature is intended for – did a user request this feature, and if so, did they only specify a few columns of interest?
There are also some new content enhancements. I’m less familiar with these aspects of the Register, so the descriptions are taken directly from the EPO news announcement, and pictures are available there as well:
- Links to PDFs in the EPO Publication server – Access to EP documents in PDF published in the EPO’s official platform, the European publication server, between 1978-2004, is now provided. Links to these documents are available in the Publication section of the About this file page.
- Status after consolidation procedure (RCON) – In the Status section of the About this file page of a Register record, when proceedings are closed due to consolidation with another patent, now there will be a link to the application that was consolidated and which pertains to the event, “Proceedings closed following consolidation with [application number].”
- E-mail alerts: Notification of lapse – Register Alert e-mail notifications now will include the contracting state(s) where the lapse occurred and the title of the application that is being monitored.
And finally, something we all can appreciate – more legal status help documentation! I love it.
- Information about the European Patent Register legal events now can be viewed in the Register documentation page.
Have you experienced the new EP Register features, and if so, what did you think? Let us know in the comments!
This post was contributed by Landon IP Librarian Kristin Whitman. 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.