No results found due to inconsistent publication IDs?

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Joined: Tue Oct 27, 2020 10:44 am

No results found due to inconsistent publication IDs?

Post by kmorgan » Tue Oct 27, 2020 11:05 am


I've been using the EPO OPS to search for records on a number of patent publications.

I'm having trouble retrieving records for a few of the IDs and it seems to be due to inconsistencies in the IDs themselves.

For example, US20150240233. If I run the following query through the EPO OPS I get the result "no results found": " ... 233/biblio"

However if I search for the patent using the Espacenet patent search tool I get a match with the publication ID US2015240233, which differs by a single digit from my original query ID. If I search the google patents database, both US20150240233 and US2015240233 return the same results - it seems they both refer to the same patent publication. If I query the OPS API using the following URL, I do get the expected results: " ... 233/biblio"

I have a number of records like this - for all of them a search for my original ID on espacenet returns results for a very similar ID (missing one or more digits).

Do you know why a search of the espacenet database returns results for these IDs yet a query using the OPS API is not successful? Is there anything I can do besides manually searching for all affected IDs using the Espacenet patent search tool and adjusting my original query IDs?

EPO / OPS Support
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Re: No results found due to inconsistent publication IDs?

Post by EPO / OPS Support » Tue Oct 27, 2020 11:32 am


The difference between a webservice like OPS and a search tool like Espacenet is that search tools are set to use different business rules that allow you to find documents even if your number is not exactly correct (+ or - 0, with fuzzy search etc for example).
OPS cannot do that because OPS is access to raw data loaded in our internal databases and that data is there in either DOCDB or EPODOC number format and not original number format as other databases on internet might use.

But the general rule is that if something is loaded in Espacenet the you should be able to find it in OPS too, especially if it is biblio data, since OPS is feeding Classic Espacenet with data.

For New Espacenet that might not always be the case because it uses different backend which might have a slightly different update frequency or coverage, but New Espacenet and OPS will both use DOCDB number format which is also helpful to know when you are trying to retrieve results found in New Espacenet in OPS. But use example as in a record found in New Espacenet, not what you used in search.

If you have further questions on OPS, then please post it under OPS forum or contact me via email at patentdata(at)

Vesna for OPS support

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