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A detailed look at a patent

The patent document below is an example of a European patent. The first page contains various dates, including the date of filing, date of publication, and the date on which the patent was granted. The document below also shows that priority has been invoked for a previous patent application. The classes associated with the patent and the details of the applicant and inventors are also shown on this page.

Kind codes

The publication number of the document is shown in the top right corner. It is followed by the kind code which denotes the type of patent document. In this case, the kind code is B1, which means that it concerns a granted patent. If it had been A1, this example would have been a publication of a patent application that includes a publication of the novelty report. For a list of all the kind codes for European patent documents, go to the Espacenet website.

Information about the invention

The invention itself is described in the description introduction. This includes information about the status of the technology and what the invention entails. Furthermore, it may describe the problem the invention solves or describe specific embodiments or preferred embodiments. Finally, it will often include examples of the invention. The claims state what is actually protected in the case of a patent or what the applicant is filing protection for in the case of a patent application.

The type of search determines relevancy

The search request determines which parts are relevant to read. For example, if it regards an infringement issue, then the patent’s scope of protection must be considered. That is described in the patent claims. It is also important to know whether the patent has already been granted or whether it regards an application. Indeed, in the case of a patent application, the claims could still change or the patent application may not result in a patent, meaning the claims become irrelevant.

If a patent is read in the context of a novelty search, the entire text of the patent is important and not only the conclusions. All disclosed publications, therefore, as well as related documents and the novelty with all references could be relevant for examining the novelty or inventiveness of an invention.