Common Citation Document (CCD)

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According to an EPO newsletter, a web application called the Common Citation Document (CCD) allows users to search for and view "all documents cited by the EPO, JPO and USPTO in the search process for applications for the same invention pending simultaneously at the three Offices."[1] According to the CCD help guide, citation data available through the CCD includes:[2]

  • EP citations - Both patent and non-patent citations and covers all possible procedures: applicant citations, search citations, examination citations, observations by third parties and opposition citations.
  • US citations - References to both patent and non-patent citations and covers only applicant and search citations.
  • JP citations - References to patent citations and covers all search, examination, opposition and appeal procedures, but does not include applicant citations.
  • WO citations - References to both patent and non-patent citations and covers only applicant and search citations.


Within the search form on the CCD homepage, a user can enter a publication number, application number, or priority number. Basic bibliographic criteria (like applicant name, inventor name, publication date, and ECLA class) is also accepted in the search form, and the user may only use the AND operator when joining search terms.[2] After searching for the document, the system will either retrieve a document directly, which will be loaded in its own tab, or the system will generate a list of choices to select from. Multiple tabs (with a document result list displayed under each tab) can be open within the application.

According to the help guide, "the CCD web application outputs the simple patent family first", and to retrieve the extended family, the user must select the button "Get all family members." Simple family groupings are indicated in CCD viewer list "of lookup results with alternating white and gray background shading."[2] On the left side of the screen, the CCD viewer screen lists all family applications and related citations (grouped by simple families). Under each application name (which lists the country code, "'Application N°' followed by the EPO application number and the domestic application number in parentheses and the filing date associated with the family member"), users can expand a list of citations. The citation information includes the category of relevance, details on the relevant sections within the cited document, and the claims of the original document to which the citation document is relevant ("this information is only available for searches performed at the EPO, e.g. EP or WO where the EPO has acted as International Search Authority").[2] The citations for each application are arranged under search type/who cited the document (i.e. National Search Report, National Examination, Applicant, etc).

The CCD Viewer, with an expanded list of citations for a family member US patent application on the left, and the bibliographic data for a family member patent application on the right.

If a user selects a family member application or cited patent document within the CCD viewer, they can view the bibliographic data (including abstract) for the document in an adjacent screen. Within the adjacent screen, the user can also view the description, claims, and original document (which the user can navigate through page by page). Users can't view non-patent literature citations in the adjacent panels.

Within the CCD viewer panel, user can select:

  • Citation only view - Instead of arranging citations under each application, a list of citations is presented with the relevant application noted in a separate column. Additional option in this view to "group across extended families."
  • Compact/Expand View - Show or hide all citations under each application.
  • Sort by country - Sort application list by country.
  • Filter - Options to "hide applicant citations" or "hide applications without citations".
  • Classification and fields searched - In the panel to the right of the CCD viewer, the user can view a compilation of classifications ("technical domains in which the subject-matter of such a document belongs") and "fields searched" ("technical domains in which the search for each family member has been performed").[2] The classifications/fields searched are arranged under country codes (related to family member applications). This list applies to the entire family, and not individual family members.

Above these CCD Viewer options are additional options:

  • Hide/Show the CCD viewer.
  • Double Inspector/Single Inspector - Users can view one or two screens adjacent to the CCD viewer. Most documents will appear only in the first adjacent panel if the double panel option is utilized, but the "Timeline" view gives users the option to view a citation in panel 1 or panel 2.
  • Timeline - The Timeline "graphically shows the timespan for a collection of citations, such as relevant priority, filing and publication dates of a patent application."[2] Users can select from three timeline modes:[2]
    • Default or "simple" - Gives the full view of the citations surrounding the input criteria used for a CCD lookup.
    • Single application mode - Pares down the data down to one application and related prior art.
    • Compare mode - Uses a circular list for comparing up to 4 applications in the timeline -- indicated with color coding and their related citations.

The Timeline in "compare mode".


  1. "EPO newsletter - issue 22/2011." EPO website, Accessed November 21, 2011.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 "Trilateral-CCD Help (v1.10)." CCD website, Accessed December 29, 2011.

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