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Guide to esp@cenet

20 September 2006
by eub2 -- last modified 20 September 2006

Free access to more than 50 million patent documents from all over the world representing technical developments from 1836 to today.


An introduction to the database of ideas
What can the esp@cenet service do for you? You can use esp@cenet to watch new technologies emerge
- find solutions to your technical problems
- discover what your competitors are developing
What’s in esp@cenet? - more than 50 million patent documents from around the world, most of which are patent applications, not granted patents. Patent applications are usually the first publication of a new idea, appearing before journal articles are published or new products reach the market
- patent families, telling you if very similar patents have been claimed in other countries
- legal status information, helping you find out if the patent is in force or not and in what countries
- bibliographic data of non-patent literature
(“XP” documents).
What is a patent? - A patent is a legal title which protects a technical invention for a limited period. The patent enables its owner to exclude others from exploiting the invention in the territory for which it has been granted.

Patents are always published, so that everyone can benefit from the information they contain.
Aren’t patents secret? - No, all patent applicants must agree to their
inventions being published.
What does a patent
document look like?
Patent documents consist of:
• a first page comprising basic “bibliographic” information, such as the title of the invention and the name of the inventor, as well as the application number and date, etc
• a detailed description of the invention, indicating how it is constructed, how it is used and what benefits it brings compared with what already exists
• claims which define the scope of the legal protection
• drawings
• and, sometimes, a search report, which lists the documents found by a patent office when considering the patentability of the invention.

Download 'An introduction to the databases of ideas' (European Patent office)
[PDF, 588 KB
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