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Concept of "priority" in OPS

Posted: Tue Oct 29, 2019 1:24 pm
by Mike_k43
I have observed that the concept of "priority" as used in OPS deviates fundamentally from what was meant by "priority founding application" in the Paris Convention. Namely, virtually any filings, whether priority founding or not (even divisional or continuation filings which by law cannot be priority-founding) become "priority claims" in the OPS concept. The consequence is an excessive number of priority claims for many patent publications. I have observed in one US publication nearly 500 such purported "priority claims".

OPS seemingly provides a field "priority-linkage-type" which should allow to determine which of those "priority claims" are priorities in the sense of the Paris Convention. This field should apparently contain codes from Annex III of the Docdb User Manual. However it emerges that for most queries to OPS that return "priority claims" this field is simply "null" (not populated at all).

I have been told by OPS support in my other post "Retrieving publications for given application number using CQL code "sap"" that I should use
.../rest-services/family/priority/docdb (with docdb number format)
to obtain "priority-linkage-type" information. I do however not want to obtain artificially inflated families according to the inpadoc "extended family" concept. Furthermore I have experienced from my earlier searches in inpadocdb errors (such as mix-up between families or omitted publications) in inpadoc "extended families".

It appears to me that OPS should populate ANY responses (not only responses to "family" requests) that provide "priority-claim" data also with the corresponding "priority-linkage-type" information. Otherwise the provided "priority claim" data will be useless - it will be impossible to decide which "priority claims" are true priorities in the sense of the Paris Convention. "Priority claims" should in my view only be those applications the priority of which is actually claimed, as indicated on the front page of patent publications under INID codes (31)/(32).

Preferably OPS should also provide a search criterion that allows to retrieve only those publications that have the priority number indicated in the query AND wherein that priority number is of given "priority-linkage-type". This could be implemented like a "proximity operator" in inpadocdb.


Re: Concept of "priority" in OPS

Posted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 7:37 am
by EPO / OPS Support

I am sorry for late reply, but I asked several data experts, families expert as well as my line manager to draft the response to your posting so it took a bit longer.

We know that there are datasets available outside the EPO that use our data collections but don't build their databases on a basis of DOCDB or don't use our family logics so if the way we deal with priorities represents an issue you might need to look for other alternatives.

I can recommend using European Publication Server web service for only EP data set, there you will really only have priority information as on the published documents: ... html#tab-1 But we don't have an alternative for worldwide data biblio collection.

Vesna for OPS
Dear Mike,

The EPO worldwide databases are conceived for the purpose of prior art searching. They collect data from around 100 authorities and their primary scope is to facilitate retrieval. They are by no means a legal repository, for which you will need to refer to the individual patent registers of the authority responsible for that jurisdiction or commercial databases that don't use DOCDB as basis or don't apply our family build-up rules.

The concept of priority is used in our internal databases in order to link and group patent applications and publications and thus it might deviate from the priority definition in the Paris Convention. You will find extensive information on how patent families are built on the EPO web site ... ilies.html and in the document “Patent families at the EPO” ... EPO_en.pdf.

You might also want to join one of our periodical online seminars on the topic, which are announced here ... ation.html .
You can retrieve the video from the last online seminar on patent families here : ... hp?id=5170 .

The field "priority-linkage-type" will be present only if populated, ie in case the indicator is absent (that is, no special linkage type), than the field will not be present.

Although we do our best to achieve the best quality in our databases, with over 100 million publications it is clear that you might find occasionally inconsistencies in the data. Please do send a request for correction to us (patentdata inbox for OPS and “Report data error” in Espacenet Classic or BETA), after all the quality of the database depends also on the feed-back the users like you provide us ().

As to the possibility of populating the "priority-linkage-type" information also in other OPS services/ responses or searching for this information, we are sorry to report that this is currently not possible due to technical reasons. However we will keep this request into account when re-designing the service at a later stage.


Patent Data Team