What is EPODOC and what is DOCDB?

There are a huge number of variations in the way that Patent application and publication numbers are represented worldwide. EPODOC and DOCDB are two standardised, database-friendly, ways to refer to Patent applications and publications.


The European Patent Office operates DOCDB, a database containing bibliographic information and citations for every patent and application in over 90 countries. Each document in the database gets a DOCDB number (comprising a country or region code, a serial number, and a Kind Code), which may or may not bear much resemblence to the original number issued by the receiving office (i.e. the one which received the application).


EPODOC is an alternative number for the same thing, and is what the public interface to DOCDB (Espacenet) requires for searches, and returns with results.

Translating between them

The DOCDB, EPODOC and original numbers for many countries are numerically related, but some are difficult to translate manually as they require zero-padding (or stripping) and the additional or removal of punctuation (typically commas, dashes and slashes).

There is a conversion tool within the Hawk IP Dashboard, and examples can be found in our application and publication number tables.