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.*

- You do not need to use wildcards for classification symbols at class level (B65), subclass level (B65D) or main group level (B65D81), as the data is already auto-truncated. Auto-truncation does not provide results at subgroup level with one digit, e.g. B65D81/3. For classifications entered at subgroup level with two digits, e.g. B65D81/32 auto-truncation is not activated, instead the Register searches for a direct result (hit) only. You can still search for classifications with one digit at subgroup level by using the field identifier ic with an asterisk *, e.g. H03K17/2*. Truncation with the wildcard ? in combination with the field identifier ic is also allowed at any level, e.g. H03K17?, H03K17/2?, H03K17/68?.