Espacenet (formerly often written as esp@cenet) is a free online service for searching patents and patent applications. Espacenet was developed by the European Patent Office (EPO) together with the member states of the European Patent Organisation. Most member states have an Espacenet service in their national language, and access to the EPO's worldwide database, most of which is in English. In 2013, the Espacenet worldwide service claimed to have records on more than 80 million patent publications.
By launching Espacenet in 1998, the EPO is said to have "revolutionized public access to international patent information, releasing patent data from its paper prisons and changing forever how patents are disseminated, organized, searched, and retrieved."
In 2004, i.e. in the early years of Espacenet, Nancy Lambert considered that, although free, Espacenet, like the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) database of US patents, "still tend[ed] to have primitive search engines and in some cases rather cumbersome mechanisms to download patents." She reported it as being deliberate, on the part of the USPTO and EPO, "who have said they do not wish to compete unfairly with commercial vendors".
In 2009, Espacenet offered the so-called SmartSearch which allows a query to be composed using a subset of Contextual Query Language (CQL) and in early 2011, the site was completely redesigned with a new look and feel.
According to the Patent Information News' magazine published by the EPO, a 2013 independent study compared Espacenet with DepatisNet, Freepatentsonline, Google Patent and the public search facility at the USPTO. In that study, Espacenet reportedly obtained the highest score for both data coverage and customer support, and the best overall aggregated score.
- Cooperative Patent Classification
- International Patent Classification
- Patent classification
- Prior art
- esp@cenet is a trademark of the European Patent Organisation (see community trade marks No: 001123876, 000881896, 000881813 on CTM-ONLINE – Trade mark consultation service – Basic).
- The "@" in esp@cenet – an old friend retires, Patent Information News issue 1/2011, March 2011, p. 5.
- "Espacenet". EPO web site. European Patent Office (EPO). Retrieved September 6, 2013. "Espacenet offers free access to more than 80 million patent documents worldwide, containing information about inventions and technical developments from 1836 to today."
- Michael J. White, Espacenet Europe's Network of Patent Databases, Issues in Science & Technology Librarianship (ISSN 1092-1206), Number 47, Summer 2006.
- Lambert, N. (2004). Internet patent information in the 21st century: A comparison of Delphion, Micropatent, and QPAT, 2004 International Chemical Information Conference & Exhibition, Annecy, France, 17–20 October 2004, pp 1–2.
- Patentinfo News issue 4 2010
- "Espacenet comes out top in study". Patent Information News (European Patent Office) (2, June 2013): p. 2. Retrieved June 23, 2013.