The documents that deal with patents are listed in BEAST. The Library has a collection of older patents which can be looked up on request.

The Library can provide basic help in searching for patents, but does not claim to be an authority in this field.

Here is a selection of links to databases (free or licensed to EPFL) where you can find patents of different nationalities.

What is a patent

A patent is a title of intellectual property issued by the State for an invention of a technical nature. To be patentable in Switzerland, an invention must be new, not derive in an obvious manner from the highest technical level of a skilled person and be industrially applicable. A patent confers the right on the holder to prohibit any third party from using an invention for economic purposes for a certain period of time. In return, the applicant must disclose his invention in detail and make it public.

Swiss Federal Institute of Intellectual Property (IPI) 2015, Glossary. [Accessed in March 2015] Available at the address[index]=B&cHash=57baa02a0ae929a89c5878bc8f4fb565

Characteristics of a patent

A patent is a document containing different information: name of the applicant, the inventor of the patent, technical description, legal claims, priority filing, priority date, filing date, the designated States, the legal situation, citations and references (if required), bibliographic data, the codes for the document type and country.

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), p. 10 of the document WIPO Guide to Using Patent Information – 2013 Edition [Accessed in March 2015] Available at the address

The publication number is the number assigned to a patent application on publication. Publication numbers are generally made up of a country code (2 letters) and a serial number (variable, 1 to 12 digits), for example: DE202004009768. For more information on publication numbers, see the pages of the European Patent Office.

World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), p. 6 of the document Finding TECHNOLOGY using PATENTS – An Introduction – 2013 Edition [Accessed in March 2015] Available at the address

Responsable de la page

Responsable: Alain Borel