Patent information service
The Patent Information Service of the Office for Intellectual Property has modern methods for responding to your requests for information regarding patents. Easy-to-use information sources are also available to help you in your commercial activities and development projects.
An overview of the patent information service
Above all, patents protect inventions, but they are also unique sources of technical and strategic information. We estimate that 80% of the information contained in a patent is not available elsewhere and more than 70% of research and development investments are already available in patent documents. It would be a pity to neglect this source of information, especially since (due to modern research resources) data can be obtained which is nearly complete for a particular technical field.
All Belgian patents are mentioned in an official register, available from the Belgian Office for Intellectual Property (OPRI). The full patent, as well as its issuance file, are also available after the patent is issued. The patent itself is also available online, as well as the description of the invention. Furthermore, the OPRI provides a concise publication of the essential elements of delivered patents in the Patent Compendium. The table of patent requests is also available.
The Patent Information Service of the OPRI also has all the tools necessary to answer your questions and requests for patent information. An extensive collection of easy-to-use information is accessible to help you in your commercial or development projects:
- A collection of CD-ROMs and documents in paper format, including more than 21 million publications in all technical fields;
- Multiple databases of technical, legal and bibliographic information on more than 40 million patents.
Online research can be carried out by OPRI personnel according to your needs or a precise research profile. Specialised personnel are available to provide practical advice. Any research carried out is confidential. Online research costs €1.25 per connection minute (a typical search takes 1 to 2 hours, for an average price of €75 to €150). For more information, you can contact the Patent Information Service at +32 (0)2 277 90 11 or by e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also carry out patent research on the internet.
Examples of potential searches
Research on prior art
This type of research can provide an overall view of the latest technical developments in a particular field. This allows you to understand any patent-protected results obtained by your competitors. You can also better understand your own activity on the basis of the state of the art. You can obtain documentation which lists the most relevant patents for your field of activity.
A search profile can be drawn up if you would like to regularly update your technical documentation with the latest patents published in a certain technical field or for a certain company.
Research prior to filing a patent request
Is your idea or invention novel and inventive? Searching in the patent databases can help you determine whether to file a patent request (including an understanding of the conditions of patentability and provide you with ideas on how to draft your request.
Research on the legal status of an invoked patent
This type of search can help define a patent's geographic territory of protection or check the validity of a patent or the substance of the patent portfolio of the person or company which invokes a patent.
Research on freedom to exploit
This type of research allows you to know whether an intended exploitation of a product threatens any patent protection held by a third party, which would constitute a patent infringement. This will allow you to avoid any unpleasant surprises.
Research on freely usable technologies
A patent normally expires after 20 years. Few patents are actually continued that long. This means that most of the millions of documents related to patents contain technological information which is no longer protected and may be exploited by anyone. Of course, you must be careful not to use technologies which are still protected by a valid patent.
Research as part of a patent opposition or invalidity action
Research on patent information may also be used in support of a counterfeit action or to contest a patent’s validity in an opposition or invalidity action. This type of research may show that the invention in question was not novel but already existed in prior patents.
Acquiring market vision
A patent is a strategic instrument which allows you to determine at any given moment which technical fields are likely to become more important in the near future. Therefore it is possible to obtain information on trends and strong points of certain technologies, for example by examining the number of patent requests in a given sector or by certain companies.
At the macroeconomic level, patents can provide information on the technological abilities of a country or group of countries.
Access to the reading room
You can also carry out patent research on the internet.
Patent information available online
The OPRI provides patent information online in close collaboration with the European Patent Office. The Esp@cenet database (DIPS, Distributed Patent Internet Services) provides access to national, European and international patents and is very easy to use. Want to see how it works? Go to http://be.espacenet.com/
Ask questions online
If you still have questions, send them to us straight away at the following e-mail address:
Patent research and online access: 02 277 90 11
Copies of patents: 02 277 90 12 (Fax: 02 277 52 61)
Contact within the Office for Intellectual Property: 02 277 90 11 Fax: 02 277 52 61
North Gate III
Avenue du Roi Albert II, 16
1000 Brussels, Belgium
Opening hours: 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. and by appointment only from 2:00 until 4:00 p.m. from Monday to Friday
For online research requests, preferably by prior appointment.
Public transportation access:
- Metro: Rogier or Yser stations
- Train, tram or bus: Gare du Nord