The speed with which documents are loaded varies considerably from country to country. Documentation relating to countries for which the PCT minimum documentation is held is usually loaded during the week following the publication date , as the EPO database is updated once a week and most patent offices publish their patent applications once a week.

Users should therefore always check whether there are any gaps or delays in certain areas. You can find this kind of information in the Useful tables and statistics section. Click on Updated weekly and then Contents and coverage of the DOCDB bibliographic data file.

A weekly snapshot of the latest additions to the EPO's databases can be found here . For daily updates, see the Espacenet website.

Documents enter the database with the following searchable fields: application number , priority number , publication number , publication date , inventor , applicant and International Patent Classification (IPC ).

English abstracts are normally loaded approximately one month after the publication date although this depends on availability and delivery from the national offices and patent-granting authorities. If the abstract is published in a language other than English, the original abstract is usually translated into English unless there are English abstracts already available for family members. Otherwise, a translation is ordered and subsequently loaded into the database.

The Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC ) assigned by EPO examiners is usually available a few months after the publication date. With recent documents, therefore, this search criterion must be used with care.