Sort Out Patent Number, Application Number and Publication Number Confusion?
TOPIC: Numbers assigned to patents include application numbers, publication numbers and patent numbers. Dialog databases include all forms, for both U.S. and international patents. Sometimes it is difficult to figure out what number to search and what the search strategy should be.
Below is a discussion of the various types of numbers that appear in Dialog patent files with links to separate How Do I... applications to show you exactly how to conduct each search.
- Application Number — The term "application number" is ambiguous. If it is the filing number, search with the AN= prefix. If it's a published application, search using the PN= prefix. Any published document is indexed as PN, and many are not granted patents. It helps to think of PN as "Publication Number" rather than "Patent Number."
- Try the PN= field first, as the majority of requests are found that way.
- Patent and publication numbers have a consistent Dialog format for cross-file
- See How Do I...? 54101 (Classic) for searching using PN=.
- Global Applications — Application numbers have a consistent Dialog format that permits cross-file searching. They can be qualified with the /PR suffix to restrict the search to priority applications.
- PCT Applications — PCT stands for Patent Cooperation Treaty.
- United States Application Numbers — "Serial Number" is a synonym for "Application Number." Numbers like 11-115539 or 11/115539 are probably applications and the leading 11 means this is the 11th time application number 115539 was used by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). See How Do I...? 54102 (Classic).
- Japanese Applications — Japan assigns each of the four stages of the patent process a different number: Application Number, Unexamined Kokai Application, Examined Kokoku, and Application Granted Patent. See How Do I...? 54103 (Classic).
Japan uses both the Western year and the year of the Emperor. When a searcher is given a Japanese patent number, the stage is often unclear, so the most comprehensive search, using all stages, may be the most effective: ?s an=jp 9423451 or pn=jp 6023451 or pn=jp 94023451.
- Competitive Intelligence for the U.S. — Published U.S. patent applications have been available in U.S. Patents Fulltext (File 654) and CLAIMS®/U.S Patents (File 340) since 2003. U.S. application numbers can also be searched in global files: INPADOC/Family and Legal Status (File 345) and Derwent World Patents Index® (File 351). The records in these files identify the members of the patent family (also called equivalents) that exist in other countries. By printing the record in Format 3, you can see the patent family.
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