To extend your search, you can use truncation symbols (wildcards) to include, for example, the plural form of a word, or alternative spellings.

There are three different wildcard characters available:

  • * - stands for a string of characters of any length

  • ? - stands for zero or one character

  • # - stands for exactly one character

There are a number of restrictions on the use of wildcards in particular:

  • Wildcards cannot be followed by an alphanumeric character (colo?r is not allowed)

  • There must be at least two alphanumeric characters preceding a ? or # symbol (for example co? or pa#). A maximum of three truncation symbols is then allowed (for example 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.

Note: Use of the * symbol can significantly increase the time taken for a search to be performed.

You cannot truncate application numbers.

In the IPC field, you should not use wildcards 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).

Note: In the Smart search mask, if you enter wo2006, you will retrieve publication number WO0002006. However, if you enter wo2006*, the system will not find any documents, as wo2006* is recognised as text and not as a number.

In order to retrieve all results starting with wo2006, you should place the field identifier pn (publication number) in front of the number: pn=wo2006*. The same is valid for priority numbers: pr=wo2006*.