Confederacy of European
Patent Information User Groups


The CEPIUG is an association of national patent information user groups on the European level. In total nearly 1000 individual members of 10 national user groups are represented by the CEPIUG. The CEPIUG has built strong ties with the European and Global patent organisations, major contributors to intellectual property and international providers of patent information products.

The History of the CEPIUG

Abstract: The Confederacy of European Patent Information User Groups (CEPIUG) was founded in 2008 to promote the sharing of experiences and expertise in patent searching across Europe. In 2018 CEPIUG has celebrated his 10th anniversary with a very well received international conference where it was announced the official launch of the ISBQPIP (International Standard Board for Qualified Patent Information Professional). CEPIUG currently comprises patent information user groups of nine different European countries representing nearly 1000 individuals and is open to new members. Besides the exchange of information, CEPIUG also seeks to promote the coordination of European efforts in the fields of education and training of new entrants into the profession of patent searching, as well as supporting the ISBQPIP organization.

The Beginning

Patent information user groups have been active in Europe and in the USA for many years [1]. The Patent Documentation Group (PDG [2,3]) was first formed in 1957 with membership limited to large companies. Then the oldest national user group, Werkgemeenschap Octrooi-informatie Nederland (WON[4]), was founded in the Netherlands in 1977, followed by the American Patent Information User Group (PIUG), in 1988.

The first example of cooperation between European user groups in recent years came during the EPIDOS conference in Copenhagen in 2002, where a group of enthusiastic Danish patent searchers sat together with a representative of the WON and founded the Danish Patent Information Forum (PIF).

During the same EPIDOS conference, a round table discussion among patent information experts took place which resulted in the formation of the COPS [5] group (in the beginning, the acronym was for the Certification of Patent Information Specialists, and this was later renamed to the Committee Of Patent Search Standards). The COPS group was chaired by Stephen Adams.

Initial Growth

Since then, formal and informal contacts between European user groups have taken place on many other occasions. In 2002, both the Patent and Trademark Group in the UK (PATMG [6]) and the WON held a presentation during the Annual PIUG conference in Berkeley, CA. The WON was also present at the foundation meeting of the Italian Patent Information User Group (Associazione Italiana Documentalisti Brevettuali AIDB [7]) in Vignola during 2004. Representatives of PDG (2005), PATMG (2006), CFIB (Club Francophone d’Information Brevet, 2011) and SIPIG (Svenska IP Informations Gruppen, 2011) attended AIDB meetings. WON and AIDB representatives were present at the CFIB meetings in 2005 and 2006, respectively, and representatives from CFIB, PATMG, PIF, AIDB and PIUG were present at WON’s 30th Anniversary meeting in November 2007.

The Formation of CEPIUG

Forming an European Confederacy was first suggested during a pre-meeting during the IPI-ConfEx in Athens in March 2006and during a second meeting at EPOPIC November 2006. Throughout the following year a questionnaire was circulated by AIDB among the existing groups. On the basis of the questionnaire responses, CEPIUG regulations and a Board were proposed. The official foundation of the CEPIUG took place on March 6th, 2008, in Sevilla during the IPI-ConfEx. The groups attending the founding meeting were AIDB, CFIB, PATMG, PIF and WON. [8].

Since then the following groups established and joined the Confederacy: SIPIG (Swedish IP Information Group) in 2008, TSUG (Thomson Scientific User Group, already founded in 1990 as Derwent UK User Group, and now renamed BPIP – British Patent Information Professionals) in 2009, BEPIUG (Belgian Patent Information User Group) in 2010, PING (Patentinformationsnutzergruppe - German Speaking Patent Information User Group) in 2016, SPIP (Spanish Patent Information Professionals) and CHPIUG (Swiss Patent Information User Group) in 2017 [9].

For a certain period of time the German group AGM (Arbeitsgruppe Elektronische Medien in der Patentinformation) participated to the CEPIUG works, while the PATMG was dissolved in 2018. Currently, CEPIUG gathers nearly 1000 members from all user groups in Europe.

10 Years of Success

In 2018 CEPIUG celebrated its 10th anniversary with an international conference held on Sept 9-11 in Milano at the Politecnico di Milano premises. The conference, centrally organized by AIDB with contributions from several CEPIUG member groups, has received very positive comments from all participants and sponsors [10].

The official launch on 31 August 2018 of the ISBQPIP (International Standard Board for Qualified Patent Information Professional) and of the Certification program via PER (Previous Experience Recognition) for experts operating in Europe and USA was announced during the conference in Milano [11].


[1] Lambert N. A succinct history of the Patent Information Users Group. World Patent Inform 1991;13(3):149–51.

[2] Ochsenbein P. The patent documentation group. World Patent Inform 1987;9(2):92–5.

[3] Philipp M, Appleton B. Half a century of the Patent Documentation Group (PDG) 1957–2007. World Patent Inform 2007;29(2):148–53.

[4] Vijvers WG. WON, the Dutch Patent Information Users Group. World Patent Inform 1992;14(3):173–4.

[5] Adams S. Certification of the patent searching profession––a personal view. World Patent Inform. 2004;26: 79–82.

[6] Blackman MJR. The patent and trademark group. World Patent Inform 1993;15(3):151–2.

[7] Fattori M. AIDB, the Italian Patent Information Users Group. World Patent Inform 2005;27(4):316–8.

[8] Darmont AG, Fattori M, Giebling G, van de Kuilen A. Patent Information User Group in Europe join together: Foundation of the Confederacy of European Patent Information User Groups (CEPIUG). World Pat Inf 2009;31(3):216-218.

[9] Baudour F, Gundertofte K, Moradei G, Stembridge B, Wretblad L. Update on the Confederacy of the Patent Information User Groups (CEPIUG). World Pat Inf 2015;41:41-44.

[10] Hantos S, CEPIUG 10th Year Anniversary Conference, Milan, Italy, September 2018. World Pat Inf 2019;56:60-63.

[11] International Standards Board for Qualified Patent Information Professionals (ISBQPIP) official website.