Report:Thomson Innovation/Data Coverage/Patent Coverage/Full Text Coverage/European Patent Office (EP)
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The European Patent Office Collection
Innovation contains both published European Patent Office (EP) applications, and granted patents. The two files can be searched separately. Both collections are updated weekly.
European published applications (European Applications) are included from their inception in 1978. A complete collection of at least a front page drawing for each document is included from 1997-present; the pre-1997 drawing coverage is partial. For applications originating from a WO/PCT document, the drawing from the corresponding WO/PCT publication is displayed. (see the Editor's Note section, below, for more information about the relationship between EP and their originating WO/PCT documents). The help file states that when you are viewing an EP record in the EP-A collection that has a PCT equivalent, the record will refer to the PCT Publication Number.
European granted patents (called the European Granted collection, in Innovation) are included from 1980-present. Like the European Applications collection, a complete collection of at least a front page drawing for each document is included from 1997-present; the pre-1997 drawing coverage is only partial. (When the document originated from a Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application, the drawings will be identical to those submitted with the original WO/PCT application.) Abstracts for these EP-B documents are carried over from the EP-A collection.
The European Patent Office requires applications to be in one of three official languages: English, German, and French. According to Thomson, the EP files contain 60% English, 30% German, and 10% French–language documents. Searchers should be aware that conducting an English keyword search in the EP files will only accurately search about 60% of the file.
In addition to the language barriers, there is another obstacle that may face searchers wishing to query the European published applications file. Like MicroPatent, the Innovation help guide provides an overview of the problem presented by Euro-PCT transfer cases, or those applications which enter the regional EP phase after first being filed as an international PCT application. If the original PCT application is in English, German, or French, the policy of the EPO is to re-publish the first page of such an application as an EP-A document, without re-printing the corresponding full text. According to the Innovation help guide, in recent years more than half of all new EP applications have been filed through the PCT route, meaning that Innovation’s database is full of first pages standing in for these missing PCT documents. For this reason, searchers are urged to always include the PCT/WO database in their query whenever an EP-A search is called for.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 "Patent Collection Details." Thomson Innovation website, http://www.thomsoninnovation.com/tip-innovation/support/help/collections_patent.htm. Accessed August 31, 2012.