Patent documents are a rich source of technical and legal information openly available to anyone who is interested. But with so many documents and so much information out there, it's easy to lose your way. How do you access the patent information you need in a timely manner, and how can you ensure that you haven't missed any relevant information? Is there a classification system under which all this information is stored?

The answers to these and many more related questions can be found in this learning path.

In particular you will learn...

  • 1

    Patent Classification

    Every application is assigned a category in the major patent classification schemes so that it can easily be found in subsequent searches by patent offices and other interested parties.

    This course will provide you with:

    • an overview of the CPC's structure and naming conventions
    • information about the transition periods from existing systems
    • an understanding of the main differences when searching with the CPC
    • an overview of Y02, the classification scheme for climate change mitigation technologies

  • In the previous course you became familiar with the main aspects of the CPC. Now it's time to take a more in-depth look at its purpose and functionalities.

  • 2

    Using CPC in classification

    This course provides a complete overview of the CPC and includes guidance on how to take full advantage of it.

    In particular, you will learn:

    • in detail about its structure, syntax and rules
    • how to identify the relevant information for classification
    • how to distinguish between invention information and additional information
    • how to operate the classification browser for the CPC to retrieve information about the CPC symbols and to find the most relevant ones for your search
    • how to refine your search queries using Boolean and truncation operators
    • about the purpose, content and general structure of the CPC definitions document

  • Now that you've learned how to use the CPC, find out how to devise an effective search strategy, how to evaluate search results and, equally important, when to stop searching.

  • 3

    Search strategies

    Searching is not an exact science and there is no such thing as the perfect search because you cannot access all of the prior art and you do not have unlimited time at your disposal.

    With this in mind, this course will help you to:

    • better understand the role and importance of search strategies
    • formulate an effective search strategy
    • evaluate the prior art you find and determine when to stop searching by following an analytical approach, rather than one based on a subjective impression

  • In the previous course you learnt how to develop an appropriate search approach. You also saw some examples of searches performed with the software tools used by EPO examiners. The next course offers a practical guide to systematic patent searches, from the process of analysing the patent application to carrying out a sufficiently complete and efficient search.

  • 4

    Searching prior art based on patent applications

    In this self‑paced course you will learn how to:

  • In the previous course you became familiar with the complexities of the search process. In the next course you will gain an insight into the EPO's patent search strategies and techniques, including the latest developments, by watching Search Matters, one of the EPO's most important events.

  • 5

    Events: Search Matters

    Search Matters is an annual event that showcases the EPO's patent search strategies and techniques, focusing on efficient search strategies, search practice in specific technical fields, as well as developments in handling Asian patent documentation and access to non-patent literature. Explore this collection of lectures and workshops to discover all the topics under discussion.

    Among the key topics of the last Search Matters conference:

    • Artificial intelligence and machine learning
    • Searching functional features
    • Asian prior art
    • Searching cross-technology inventions
    • Freedom-to-operate searches with EPO tools