Answered By: Farha Hasan
Last Updated: Sep 12, 2019     Views: 63

Patent terminology: Patent Family

What is a patent family and how it can be used in patent search?


A patent family is a collection of patent applications covering the same or similar technical content. The applications in a patent family are related to each other through priority claims.

  • A simple patent family will protect a single invention, by a common inventor. In this instance the collection of patents covers one single invention and the technical content is identical.
  • An extended patent family relates to the same invention, or to several inventions sharing a common aspect, of which each member has for the basis of its “priority right” at least one originating application in common with at least one other member of the family. In this instance the collection of patents is covering a particular technology and differences in technical content are possible.

Strategic Application:

  • Owning a patent family protects the same invention in all the countries where the patent is filed
  • Identifies the geographic (or market) focus of the company
  • Supports identification of technological trends and related inventions