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INPADOC/Family and Legal Status
This page last modified: 8 September 2012

The INPADOC database, a comprehensive resource of approximately 62.5 million patents represented in 34 million patent families from more than 80 countries and patenting organizations, is produced by the European Patent Office. Effective April 30, the EPO changed the source format of the INPADOC/Family and Legal Status database to a new DOCDB XML structure. As a result, the database has undergone a major restructuring with new data, formats, and other enhancements to both content and indexing. The improvements to INPADOC set the stage for even more enhancements in future which will take advantage of a more robust technical infrastructure.

The new version of INPADOC has been released with all the new data and features described below. For specific questions or assistance, contact the Dialog Knowledge Center, available weekdays around the clock.


New Content

  • Starting with update week 200816, EPO Simple Family data has been added, consisting of the EPO family ID (searched using the prefix EF=), the number of patents it contains, a list of family member patents with publication dates, and an English language abstract, if provided. New family information displays in Format 33 together with the complete INPADOC family. Simple family data (without the abstract) also displays in Formats 35 and 39. Review the sample record.
  • Together approximately 10 million family records will contain either abstracts, search reports or both. A search report contains cited patents and cited literature references.
  • Approximately 100,000 19th century patents available.
  • Cited references are available for both searching and display. This new content makes both prior art and patent infringement screening more effective. Patent references can be searched using CT=; literature references RF=. Additional indicators for the EPO and WO are also searchable for cited data.
  • The format of all patent application and publication numbers has been normalized for ease and consistency of retrieval. In addition, patent and application numbers are indexed in variant forms in order to simplify searching and identifying patent publications. Variations include: with and without leading zeroes, with and two- and four-digit years.
  • Each patent in the patent family table includes the week in which it was originally added to the database. Similarly, each legal status action also includes the week in which it was originally added as well as an indication if the EPO has corrected or replaced a particular legal status entry.
  • Legal Status changes are flagged with a plus sign ( "+" ) to indicated a positive change, or a minus sign ( "–" ) to indicate a negative change.
  • International Patent Classification Reform (version 8) codes have been added as originally filed. INPADOC records have been updated to reflect changes and revisions to assigned IPC codes. The file includes all available IPCR reclassifications, as well as the original classifications for patents issued prior to 2006. Any reclassifications subsequent to issue will be added as part of weekly updates.
  • Many new search, limit and display options enable precise targeting of Core or Advanced Classification Codes. (For more about the IPC Reform implementation on Dialog, check the IPCR/8 page.)


  • Searchable ECLA classification codes (EC=) are available.
  • A new field (RA=) has been added for Reassignment Names. The Original Assignee is indexed in the Patent Assignee (PA=) field.
  • Company Name (CO=) has been added which includes the data in both Patent Assignee (PA=) and Reassignment Name (RA=) fields. The addition of the Company Name field facilitates cross-file searching with related databases, such as Derwent World Patents Index (Files 351, 352, 350) and CLAIMS®/Current Patent Legal Status (File 123).
  • Full 8-digit dates with separate prefixes for date (AD=, PD=, LD=), month (AM=, PM=, LM=) and year (AY=, PY=, LY=) are available. Indexing for Legal Status Year (LY=), Legal Status Month (LM=) and Legal Status Date (LD=) are also available.
  • MAP CTPN can be used with cited patents to convert them into patent number searches in the same or other patent files. Similarly, MAP PNCT can be used with any patent number, to convert it into a cited patent search.
  • Chemical segmentation searching of titles and abstracts is available.
  • Number of Countries (NC=), Number of Patents (NP=) and Number of Legal Status (NS=) entries are now searchable.
  • Target data related to a specific patent within a patent family by using a newly added search feature. The (S) proximity operator can be used to search for a combination of attributes pertaining to a specific patent: date added, publication date, kind, country, and publication number. These attributed appear in a single row in the Patent Family Table within INPADOC records. For example, using this technique it is possible to identify US patents that have been reexamined in 1997: s pc=us b1 (s) py=1997.
  • Special MAP codes have been added to automate patent and application number searches for nine major publishing authorities. Each code used with MAP command is a combination of "PN" for Publiation Number or "AN" for Application Number. For example, PNJP for Japanese Publications, ANJP for Japanese Applications, and so on. Countries and Authorities for which these new MAP codes are available are: CA, DE, FR, GP, JP, RU, US, WO, and EP.

Display Enhancements

  • INPADOC data is better organized and easier to read when displayed in Dialog interfaces supporting HTML. Text wraps automatically to the size of your display window.
  • New alerting formats 15 and 16, provide a summary of changes to the record made in the current update which allows you to pinpoint new information more easily.
  • All full formats, 3, 4, 5, 7, 9, 35, 39 include the patent family table.
  • Formats 2, 35 and 39 now include abstracts. Formats 35 and 39 also include cited references.
  • Special Format 4 that retrieves the patent family table plus country families for US, EP, WO if present in the family record.
  • Format 2 is now the patent basic.
  • Data presented in table format, such as patent families, priorities, IPC codes can be easily cut and pasted into spreadsheet and word processing software.
  • Format 33 contains the complete INPADOC family, plus the simple family data and a representative abstract, if available.

Transition Notes

Alerts. Any Alerts running in INPADOC will continue uninterrupted. The added data and other enhancements to INPADOC described in the preceding paragraphs may warrant a review of any Alerts you have running. Contact the Dialog Knowledge Center for assistance with reviewing or managing your Alerts.

DialogLink 5 Report Templates. New data and some changes in field labels may require downloading updated Report Templates for INPADOC. New Word and Excel Report Templates for INPADOC were revised in August 2007. If you have created customized DialogLink 5 templates and need assistance modifying them, contact your account representative or the Dialog Knowledge Center.


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