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102    Information as to Status of an Application [R-11.2013]

37 C.F.R. 1.14   Patent applications preserved in confidence.

  • (a) Confidentiality of patent application information. Patent applications that have not been published under 35 U.S.C. 122(b) are generally preserved in confidence pursuant to 35 U.S.C. 122(a). Information concerning the filing, pendency, or subject matter of an application for patent, including status information, and access to the application, will only be given to the public as set forth in § 1.11 or in this section.
    • (1) Records associated with patent applications (see paragraph (g) for international applications) may be available in the following situations:
      • (i) Patented applications and statutory invention registrations. The file of an application that has issued as a patent or published as a statutory invention registration is available to the public as set forth in §1.11(a). A copy of the patent application-as-filed, the file contents of the application, or a specific document in the file of such an application may be provided upon request and payment of the appropriate fee set forth in § 1.19(b).
      • (ii) Published abandoned applications. The file of an abandoned application that has been published as a patent application publication is available to the public as set forth in § 1.11(a). A copy of the application-as-filed, the file contents of the published application, or a specific document in the file of the published application may be provided to any person upon request, and payment of the appropriate fee set forth in § 1.19(b).
      • (iii) Published pending applications. A copy of the application-as-filed, the file contents of the application, or a specific document in the file of a pending application that has been published as a patent application publication may be provided to any person upon request, and payment of the appropriate fee set forth in § 1.19(b). If a redacted copy of the application was used for the patent application publication, the copy of the specification, drawings, and papers may be limited to a redacted copy. The Office will not provide access to the paper file of a pending application that has been published, except as provided in paragraph (c) or (i) of this section.
      • (iv) Unpublished abandoned applications (including provisional applications) that are identified or relied upon. The file contents of an unpublished, abandoned application may be made available to the public if the application is identified in a U.S. patent, a statutory invention registration, a U.S. patent application publication, or an international patent application publication of an international application that was published in accordance with PCT Article 21(2). An application is considered to have been identified in a document, such as a patent, when the application number or serial number and filing date, first named inventor, title and filing date or other application specific information are provided in the text of the patent, but not when the same identification is made in a paper in the file contents of the patent and is not included in the printed patent. Also, the file contents may be made available to the public, upon a written request, if benefit of the abandoned application is claimed under 35 U.S.C. 119(e), 120, 121, or 365 in an application that has issued as a U.S. patent, or has published as a statutory invention registration, a U.S. patent application publication, or an international patent application that was published in accordance with PCT Article 21(2). A copy of the application-as-filed, the file contents of the application, or a specific document in the file of the application may be provided to any person upon written request, and payment of the appropriate fee (§ 1.19(b)).
      • (v) Unpublished pending applications (including provisional applications) whose benefit is claimed. A copy of the file contents of an unpublished pending application may be provided to any person, upon written request and payment of the appropriate fee (§ 1.19(b)), if the benefit of the application is claimed under 35 U.S.C. 119(e), 120, 121, or 365 in an application that has issued as a U.S. patent, an application that has published as a statutory invention registration, a U.S. patent application publication, or an international patent application publication that was published in accordance with PCT Article 21(2). A copy of the application-as-filed, or a specific document in the file of the pending application may also be provided to any person upon written request, and payment of the appropriate fee (§ 1.19(b)). The Office will not provide access to the paper file of a pending application, except as provided in paragraph (c) or (i) of this section.
      • (vi) Unpublished pending applications (including provisional applications) that are incorporated by reference or otherwise identified. A copy of the application as originally filed of an unpublished pending application may be provided to any person, upon written request and payment of the appropriate fee (§ 1.19(b)), if the application is incorporated by reference or otherwise identified in a U.S. patent, a statutory invention registration, a U.S. patent application publication, or an international patent application publication that was published in accordance with PCT Article 21(2). The Office will not provide access to the paper file of a pending application, except as provided in paragraph (c) or (i) of this section.
      • (vii) When a petition for access or a power to inspect is required. Applications that were not published or patented, that are not the subject of a benefit claim under 35 U.S.C. 119(e), 120, 121, or 365 in an application that has issued as a U.S. patent, an application that has published as a statutory invention registration, a U.S. patent application publication, or an international patent application publication that was published in accordance with PCT Article 21(2), or are not identified in a U.S. patent, a statutory invention registration, a U.S. patent application publication, or an international patent application that was published in accordance with PCT Article 21(2), are not available to the public. If an application is identified in the file contents of another application, but not the published patent application or patent itself, a granted petition for access (see paragraph (i)) or a power to inspect (see paragraph (c)) is necessary to obtain the application, or a copy of the application.
    • (2) Information concerning a patent application may be communicated to the public if the patent application is identified in a published patent document or in an application as set forth in paragraphs (a)(1)(i) through (a)(1)(vi) of this section. The information that may be communicated to the public (i.e., status information) includes:
      • (i) Whether the application is pending, abandoned, or patented;
      • (ii) Whether the application has been published under 35 U.S.C. 122(b);
      • (iii) The application “numerical identifier” which may be:
        • (A) The eight-digit application number (the two-digit series code plus the six-digit serial number); or
        • (B) The six-digit serial number plus any one of the filing date of the national application, the international filing date, or date of entry into the national stage; and
      • (iv) Whether another application claims the benefit of the application (i.e., whether there are any applications that claim the benefit of the filing date under 35 U.S.C. 119(e), 120, 121 or 365 of the application), and if there are any such applications, the numerical identifier of the application, the specified relationship between the applications (e.g., continuation), whether the application is pending, abandoned or patented, and whether the application has been published under 35 U.S.C. 122(b).

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Status information of an application means only the following information:

  • (A) whether the application is pending, abandoned, or patented;
  • (B) whether the application has been published;
  • (C) the application number or the serial number plus any one of the filing date of the national application, the international filing date or the date of entry into the national stage; and
  • (D) whether another application claims the benefit of the application (i.e., whether there are any applications that claim the benefit of the filing date under 35 U.S.C. 119(e), 120, 121 or 365 of the application), and if there are any such applications, status information therefor as set forth in 37 CFR 1.14(a)(2)(iv).

A requester seeking status information regarding an application should check the Patent Application Information Retrieval (PAIR) system on the USPTO Web site at http://www.uspto.gov/ebc. Alternatively, the requester may contact the File Information Unit (see MPEP § 1730). The File Information Unit (FIU) will check the relevant Office records and will inform the requester whether the application has been published or has issued as a patent. If the application has been published, the FIU will inform the requester of the publication number and publication date, and if the application has issued as a patent, the patent number, issue date and classification. If the application has not been published, but is pending or abandoned then the FIU should determine whether the requester is:

  • (1) the applicant;
  • (2) a patent practitioner of record;
  • (3) the assignee or an assignee of an undivided part interest;
  • (4) the inventor or a joint inventor; or
  • (5) a registered attorney or agent named in the papers accompanying the application papers filed under 37 CFR 1.53 or the national stage documents filed under 37 CFR 1.495, if a power of attorney has not been appointed under 37 CFR 1.32.

If the requester is any of (1) - (5) as set forth above, or if the application contains written authority granting access to the requester signed by any of (1) - (5) as set forth above, then the requester is entitled to status information. See 37 CFR 1.14(c) and MPEP § 104 for additional information pertaining to who can provide written authority granting access to such information. If the requester is inquiring about whether a reply was received or when an Office action can be expected, the requester should be directed to call the Technology Center (TC) to which the application is assigned. The assignment of an application to a TC can be determined from PALM Intranet.

If the requester is not any of (1) - (5) or a person with written authority from any of (1) - (5) as set forth above, and the application is (1) identified by application number (or serial number and filing date) in a published patent document, or (2) an application claiming the benefit of the filing date of an application identified by application number (or serial number and filing date) in a published patent document, then a written request including a copy of a published patent document (United States or foreign) which refers to the specific application must be provided when requesting status information for the application. If the published patent document is not in English, then a translation of the pertinent part thereof must also be included. The published patent document may be presented in person to the FIU or in written correspondence to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, for example, by facsimile transmission. Any written correspondence must include a return address or facsimile number. If the application is referred to by application number or serial number and filing date in a published patent document (e.g., a U.S. patent, a statutory invention registration, a U.S. patent application publication, or an international application publication), or in a U.S. application open to public inspection, pursuant to 37 CFR 1.14(a), the requester is entitled to status information for the application. (The published patent document will at least identify the application from which the patent itself was issued.) PALM Intranet should be used to determine the status of the application. If the requester asks whether there are any applications on file which claim the benefit of the filing date of the identified application, pursuant to 37 CFR 1.14(a)(2)(iv), status information (application number, filing date and whether the application is pending, abandoned or patented) for the applications claiming benefit of the identified application may be given to the requester as well. PALM Intranet should be used to determine the application number and filing date of any applications claiming the benefit of the filing date of the identified application. The requester should be informed of the national applications listed in the “child” section of the screen. If the child application is not shown to have been patented , PALM Intranet should be used to determine whether the application is pending or abandoned. Alternatively, PALM Intranet may be used with the patent number for continuity data for the patent. Other information contained on the screen, such as whether the application is a Continuation-in-Part (CIP), continuation or divisional application, the date of abandonment of the application, and the issue date, may be confidential information and should not be communicated. As to the extent of the chain of applications for which status information is available, the rule applies only to subsequent and not prior applications.

Furthermore, if the requester is not any of (1) - (5) or a person with written authority from any of (1) - (5) as set forth above, but the application is a national stage application or any application claiming the benefit of the filing date of a published international application and the United States of America has been indicated as a Designated State in the international application, pursuant to 37 CFR 1.14(a)(2)(iv), the requester is entitled to status information for the national stage application as well as any application claiming the benefit of the filing date of the published international application. A copy of the first page of the published international application or of the corresponding page of the PCT Gazette must be supplied with the status request. The status request should be made in writing to the Office of PCT Legal Administration (see MPEP § 1730). Alternatively, inquiries relating to applications claiming the benefit of the filing date of a published international application may be directed to the PCT Help desk. Only the serial number and filing date, or application number, as well as whether the application is pending, abandoned, or patented may be given for the national stage application and for any applications claiming the benefit of the filing date of the referenced published international application. Other information contained on the continuity data screen, such as whether the application is a CIP, continuation or divisional application, the date of abandonment of the application and issue date may be confidential information and should not be communicated.

  STATUS LOCATION INFORMATION FOR OFFICE PERSONNEL

When it is desired to determine the current location or status of an application, Office personnel should use PALM. If the application is an Image File Wrapper (IFW) application, no location is associated with the file.

Office personnel requesting status/location information on applications prior to 07 series applications that are not in the PALM system should contact the FIU (see MPEP § 1730) where the numerical index records of the above mentioned applications are maintained.

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Last Modified: 03/27/2014 10:10:32