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National Collections - Query Syntax


A query is broken up into terms and operators. There are two types of terms: Single Terms and Phrases.

A Single Term is a single word such as "car" or "engine".

A Phrase is a group of words surrounded by double quotes suchas "electric car".

Multiple terms can be combined together with Boolean operators to form a more complex query (see below).

Note:If the english language option has been chosen then the analyzer on the terms and phrases in the query string will be the English Stemmer. For example the term "electrical" will be stemmed to "electric", "electricity" and so on.

So it is important to choose a language option from the start interface.


English:Standard Lucene implementation of the Porter Stemming Algorithm, a normalization process that removes common endings from words.
Example:"riding", "rides", "horses" ==> "ride", "ride", "hors".

Other languages:Stemming Algorithms are also used for french, german, spanish and russian. For more info please see the Snowball reference


You can search any field by typing the field name followed by a colon ":" or "/" and then the term you are looking for. Examples:

Since EN_ALL is the default field, the field indicator is not required.

Note: The field is only valid for the term that it directly precedes, so the query

EN_TI:("wind turbine" AND electric) solar

Will only find "wind turbine" AND electric in the title field. It will find "solar" in the default field (in this case the EN_ALL field).

Note:The seperator between the name of the field and its value can be either ":" or "/".

Wildcard Searches

It supports single and multiple character wildcard searches within single terms. To perform a single character wildcard search use the "?" symbol. To perform a multiple character wildcard search use the "*" symbol.

The single character wildcard search looks for terms that match that with the single character replaced. For example, to search for "text" or "test" you can use the search:

Multiple character wildcard searches looks for 0 or more characters. For example, to search for electric, electrical or electricity, you can use the search:

You can also use the wildcard searches in the middle of a term.

Note:All the wildcard queries are executed against non-stemmed fields: EN_TI_S/mot* is converted to EN_TI/mot*

Note:PhraseQuery keeps the stemming option if no wildcards are found: EN_TI/"electric motor" is stemmed while EN_TI_S/"electric mot*" is converted to EN_TI/"electric mot*"

Note:use ALLNUM fields if you do queries using IDs like PCT/US/2009/0*, otherwise using the default field EN_ALL then query should be formulated like: (PCT US/2009/0*)

Note:You cannot use a * or ? symbol as the first character of a search.

Note:You may use up to seven wildcards if you are a logged-in user, but only three if you are not.

Proximity Searches

It supports finding words are a within a specific distance away. To do a proximity search use the tilde, "~", symbol at the end of a Phrase. For example to search for a "electric" and "car" within 10 words of each other in a document use the search:

Note:You can also use the syntax:

which is actually translated to "electric car"~5

Simple Date Searches

Simple date searches based on a year, month or day are allowed. For example:

Range and Dates Searches

Range Queries allow one to match documents whose field(s) values are between the lower and upper bound specified by the Range Query. Range Queries can be inclusive or exclusive of the upper and lower bounds. Sorting is done lexicographically.

This will find documents whose publication date fields have values between 01.01.2000 and 01.01.2001, inclusive. Note that Range Queries are not reserved for date fields. You could also use range queries with non-date fields:

This will find all documents whose inventor names are betweenSmith and Terence, but not including Smith and Terence. Inclusive range queries are denoted by square brackets. Exclusive range queries are denoted by curly brackets.

Note:For date ranges you can also use the syntax:

Empty Field Searches

To perform a search for empty/non empty fields you need to use Field_Name:[* TO *] For example, to search for all the documents where the russian title is not empty, you can use the search:

Fuzzy Searches

Fuzzy searches based on the Levenshtein Distance, or Edit Distance algorithm. To do a fuzzy search use the tilde, "~", symbol at the end of a Single word Term. For example to search for a term similar in spelling to "roam" use the fuzzy search:

This search will find terms like foam and roams.
A parameter can specify the required similarity. The value is between 0 and 1, with a value closer to 1 only terms with a higher similarity will be matched. For example:

Boolean Operators

Boolean operators allow terms to be combined through logic operators.

The following are supported: AND, "+", OR, NOT, ANDNOT and "-" as Boolean operators.

The AND operator is the default conjunction operator. This means that if there is no Boolean operator between two terms, the AND operator is used.

To search for documents that contain both "electric car" and "solar" use the query:


Use parentheses to group clauses to form sub queries. This can be very useful if you want to control the boolean logic for a query.

To search for either "solar" or "wind" and "turbine" use the query:

Field Grouping

Use parentheses to group multiple clauses to a single field.

To search for a english title that contains both the word "battery" and the phrase "electric car" use the query:

ID,AN,WO,PN,ALLNUM search syntax

WO:YYYYNNNNNN, YYYY/NNNNNN, YY/NNNNNN, YYNNNNNN, YYYY/..NNNN, YY/..NNNN,YYYY..NNNN, YY..NNNN, YYYY, NNNNNN, ..NNNN (...NNN means all the leading 0 have been taken off)
You can add WO/ in front of any of this and (*) wildcard like:

You can add PCT/ in front of any of this

National Publication Number (PN:)

Korea: PN format is :102001NNNNNNN 100NNNNNN. You can search for NNNNNNN, NNNNNNN, ..NNNNNNN, KR/NNNNNNN, KR/..NNNNN


Vietnam: PN format is :NNNN or NNNNN. You can search for NNNNN, VN/NNNN, VN/..NN, ..NN

Cuba: PN format is : NNNNN. You can search for NNNNN, CU/NNNN, CU/..NN,..NN

ARIPO: PN format is : AP/P/YYYY/NNNNNN or 'AP N{1,4}'. You can search for NNNNNN, ..NN, AP/YYYY/NNNNNN, AP/..NN, YYYY, YYYY/..NN

Singapore: PN format is : NNNNN or NNNNNN. You can search for NNNNN, SG/NNNNN

Israel: PN format is : NNNNN or NNNNNN. You can search for NNNNN, IL/NNNNN

Mexico: PN format is : CC/a/YYYY/NNNNNN. You can search for NNNNNN, ..NN, MX/YYYY/NNNNNN, MX/..NN, YYYY, YYYY/..NN

External Ressources

Lucene syntax

PATENTSCOPE search relevance algorithm

Search relevancy now uses Okapi BM25; this improves how the 'best results' are showing at the top of the result list, basically, the main difference being that high term frequency doesn't have an impact on the final score.
Read more..