Truncation symbols (wildcards) are a set of symbols that you can use to extend the range of your search. For example, you can search for the plural form, or alternative spellings of a word.

There are three different wildcard characters that you can use to search in the European Patent Register’s Smart search and Advanced search:





stands for a string of characters of any length

car* will retrieve car, cars, card, cart, care, carbon, etc.


stands for zero or one character

car? will retrieve car, card, cart, care, etc. but not cards, carbon


stands for exactly one character

car# will retrieve card, cart, care, cars, etc. but not car, cards


- Left truncation (?car) or truncation within a word (ca?t) is not supported.

- At least two alphanumeric characters must precede ? or # (co? or pa#), then a maximum of three truncation symbols is allowed (ca??? will retrieve call, cart, card, care, cable, etc.).

- If three or more alphanumeric characters precede a ? or # symbol, then a maximum of seven truncation symbols is allowed.

- There must be at least three alphanumeric characters preceding a * symbol.

- Truncation is not allowed in application numbers.*

- Wildcards should not be used in the IPC field as the data is auto-posted, meaning that each symbol is indexed at different levels. Example: B (section level), B65 (class level), B65D (subclass level), B65D81 (group level), B65D81/32 (subgroup level).