IMPORTANT: SGML files are "old" file formats and we hope to end the posting of these by the end of 2006.
You should use the new XML files (click here). The documentation listed below will not be updated.


Below you will find links to all the documentation required in order to understand and process EBD SGML files. These files contain complex, SGML tagged data which detail, on a weekly basis, bibliographic details of all new EPO patent applications and specifications and all the previous weeks changes to existing files. These are 'raw', unformatted but highly structured data files. Note also that the system processing the file must be set to read character set ASCII 437/850 or EBCDIC code page 500 (for binary files); if not certain characters will not display correctly.

These files do not give the whole history and status of an EPO application or patent. To view this data you will need to go to the:

EBD files are primarily intended for EPO National Offices, other Patent Offices and commercial database host systems to update their patent databases.

If you download EBD files they will not be too much use to you unless you:

  • have a good understanding of EPO patent procedures
  • have a good understanding of SGML processing
  • probaby have a database to store the data (for searching, updating, etc). In such a case you will have to write a conversion program - converting SGML tags to database records, for example. Unfortunately, the EPO is unable to give any help in this area.

The first document listed below, "EBD Specification", is the only document required in order to understand the format of the bibliographic data. This document gives a comprehensive description of the file format and also gives many examples of use. The other documents are for background information.

All documentation is in Adobe Acrobat PDF format unless stated otherwise
 Document  Description View /
EBD Specification
Version 2.1
Jan. 2001
Complete specification of EPO Bibliographic Data (EBD) in SGML If downloading an EBD file you will need this document in order to be able to understand the content and how to process it. File size: 387 KB. ebd
Ver. 1/6,
Jan 2001
The SGML Document Type Definition and character entities for EBD files.
Note: this is a zip file (20 KB) containing plain text data.
Character set
October 1995
Specification of the character set used in all EPO SGML files: gives the base character set (IBM code page 500 in EBCDIC and ASCII 437/850) plus the full list of character entity references. File size: 309 KB. download
Version 2
February 1999
The full title of this standard is: "Recommended standard format for data exchange of mixed-mode published patent document information on reel-to-reel and IBM 3480/90 cartridges tapes". The EBD specification, above, is a modified version of this standard. File size: 535 KB st35