According to the European Patent Convention, the European Patent Office has the legal obligation to publish the patent applications it receives (A-documents) and the patents it grants (B-documents).
By decision of the President of the Office, the European Publication Server has been the sole legally authoritative publication medium for European A and B documents since 1 April 2005. All documents (A1, A2, A3 and B1, B2, B3 documents, as well as the corresponding A8, A9, B8 and B9 correction documents) are available free of charge at 2 p.m. on their day of publication, which is usually every Wednesday.
Electronic processing of patent applications by the EPO (whether they were initially received electronically through epoline® or on paper) means that the documents are available electronically much earlier than before and it is now only a short step to publishing them on the Internet. This also reflects an increasing wish amongst our users to access patent information across the Internet.
Locating documents in the European Publication Server is very easy - there are just a few “access keys”, such as publication number and IPC class. Apart from viewing documents on-screen, you can download them in PDF format or XML. There are no restrictions to the number of pages you can download from a given document at once.
Publication has traditionally been on paper. For our A and B documents, this has now been completely replaced by the European Publication Server. Our ESPACE products continue to be available, of course, and during 2006 we will also be making the latest versions of the ESPACE® products available online.
If you would like further information on the European Publication Server or if you have suggestions for improving this service, please send an email to our Publications Department, at