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In EPO web site there's a definition of patent families page and, relating to this definitions, in other pages of the site it's stated about ESPACENET equivalents that:

Definition of the Espacenet equivalent

The equivalent rule in Espacenet is that, for two documents to be described as equivalents, all their priorities must be the same.

and this statement matches the definition of "The simple patent family" among the ones given in the definitions page linked above.

In The "extended" (INPADOC) patent family page is also clearly stated that:

Unlike the "also published as" feature in Espacenet, which only shows "equivalents", i.e. almost identical documents, an INPADOC family search should retrieve all documents relating in any way to the root document.

Now, I queried ESPACENET for US2014345521 (A1) and I got:

  • ESPACENET "also published as": 118 results
  • ESPACENET "INPADOC" patent family: 71 results

and querying OPS:

  • OPS Published Data Service_equivalents: 71 results
  • OPS Family Service_number: 118 results.

So: in both cases the 118 results set is reduced to 71 results by applying the same rule: the patent publication having the same doc-number but different kinds (i.e. CA2513291 (A1) and CA2513291 (A4)) are not listed twice in the smaller set. So, from the point of view of the patent family criterion we could say that the four sets are the same.

I analyzed the priorities of the 71 results, and I found that they all share a priority (AU20030900180) but they for sure don't have the same priorities (they don't match the "Definition 1" definition as they should according to EPO's statements).

I also couldn't say for sure if they match the patent family "Definition 2" or the "Definition 3" (INPADOC family), being that even trying with other patents I was never able to find out a set of results which didn't match both "Definition 2" and "Definition 3", all sets sharing at least one common results and at the same time all sets encompassing all patent publications sharing at least one priority with them.

Can somebody say why ESPACENET "also published as", and OPS "Published Data Service equivalents" don't follow the "Definition 1 " criterion as they should?

Can somebody provide a patent publication for which the set of "also published as" or "INPADOC family" ESPACENET results could indicate without doubt if the "Definition 2" or the "Definition 3" is followed?

  • it seems to me that there are database interface or code related issue. I feel that this question should be queried on EPO help. – Pushpak Feb 12 '15 at 10:57
  • @Pushpak Actually I was thinking the same, just wanted to see if somebody had yet the solution before asking EPO. – mrc-- Feb 12 '15 at 15:00

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