An applicant is a person or organisation (e.g. company, university, etc.) who/which has filed a patent application. There may be more than one applicant per application. The applicant may also be the inventor, although this is not necessarily the case.

The applicant format for a person consists of the surname followed by the first name and should be entered within quotation marks (e.g. "Smith John").

The applicant format for an organisation is made up of all the words comprising the name of that organisation and should be entered within quotation marks (e.g. "British Aerospace").

Diacritical characters (umlauts and accents) are not allowed when searching names in the worldwide database, so please enter your search terms without them. They are allowed when searching in the EP and WIPO databases, however.

For example, we recommend that you search for Julich or Juelich in order to retrieve all spellings (Jülich/Juelich/Julich).

You cannot use apostrophes ('), hyphens (-) or slashes (/) when searching in the worldwide database. Please use blank spaces instead. Apostrophes and hyphens are, however, allowed when searching the EP and WIPO databases.

You can also use the NOT operator to exclude some words from your search query. However, NOT cannot be placed at the beginning of a search field, only after a search term.

The highlighting is activated by default and is visible in the result list as well as in the bibliographic view. To deactivate it deselect the relevant box under the Settings tab.

When an applicant name is searched in Espacenet, it is searched against the "unstandardised" names as entered by the applicant in the request for grant form, as well as against the "standardised" names assigned by the EPO.

The standardised name (e.g. "NIPPON KOGAKU KK") is the name that will be shown in the result list and in the bibliographic data, even though the name on the original document might be the unstandardised name (e.g."NIKON"). A search for NIKON will also retrieve applications filed under "NIPPON KOGAKU KK".

Note (1): Click on the "+" sign next to the name of the applicant in the Bibliographic data view to see a list of the unstandardised names.

The space for displaying names in the extended view format of the result list is limited. A number displayed in brackets next to the name, for example (+3), indicates how many more names can be viewed by clicking on the patent title.

Note (2): A patent may have been sold to another company. In the database, it is the name of the applicant at the date of filing which is registered, so it can be difficult to get accurate information about new applicants/patent-holders. However, for EP and Euro-PCT documents, you can get this information from the European Patent Register .

Note (3): In the case of documents published in other character sets (Cyrillic, Greek, Japanese, etc.), applicant/inventor names are not searchable.

If you do not know whether the person is the applicant or the inventor, you can use the Smart search mask.

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