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1128    Availability of Published Applications [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:

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  • (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. 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.

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  • (b) Electronic access to an application. Where a copy of the application file or access to the application may be made available pursuant to this section, the Office may at its discretion provide access to only an electronic copy of the specification, drawings, and file contents of the application.

I.   ELECTRONIC ACCESS

Patent application publications are available electronically on the USPTO web site (www.uspto.gov). Any member of the public may obtain status information concerning any published application via the Office’s Patent Application Information Retrieval (PAIR) system. See MPEP § 1730. Published applications that have been scanned into the Image File Wrapper (IFW) system may be available electronically via PAIR. See 37 CFR 1.14(b)

II.   COPIES OF PUBLISHED APPLICATIONS

Any member of the public may submit a request under 37 CFR 1.14(a)(1)(ii) or (iii) and the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.19(b) to the Office of Public Records or electronically on the USPTO web site (www.uspto.gov) for:

  • (A) a copy of the complete file wrapper and contents of, or a copy of a specific paper in, any published application, provided that no redacted copy was timely submitted for publication; or
  • (B) an appropriately redacted copy of the file wrapper and contents of, or a copy of a specific paper in, any published application for which a redacted copy was timely submitted for publication.

III.   PHYSICAL ACCESS TO PUBLISHED APPLICATIONS

Any member of the public cannot obtain physical access to any pending published application because permitting physical inspection of pending published applications would interfere with the Office’s ability to act on the applications. Any member of the public may, however, physically inspect (subject to the same conditions that apply to inspection of patented files) the file of any abandoned published application, provided that no redacted copy was timely submitted for publication, through the File Information Unit (FIU). See MPEP § 1730.

IV.    STATUS INFORMATION

Any member of the public may obtain status information concerning any published application via the Office’s PAIR system or contact the FIU. See MPEP § 1730. Status information is defined to include identification of whether the application has been published under 35 U.S.C. 122(b), as well as whether the application is pending, abandoned, or patented, and the application number. Status information may also be provided when the application is referred to by its application number in a U.S. patent application publication as well as a U.S. patent or a published international application. The public may obtain continuity data for applications that have been published as a U.S. patent application publication or as a U.S. patent. See also MPEP § 102.

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