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Truncation

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:


Wildcard

Description

Examples

*

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

Restrictions

- 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?.