MPEP Q & A 171: Instances Where Publication or Issue Date is Later Than the Current Date

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Question:

When the publication or issue date is later than the current date (i.e., the date of the request), who will that information be given to?

Answer:

When the publication or issue date is later than the current date (i.e., the date of the request), such information may be given only to the applicant, an inventor, the assignee of record, or the attorney or agent of record.

Chapter Details:

The answer to this question can be found in chapter 100 of the MPEP. This chapter covers secrecy, access, national security, and foreign filing.

The answer is from the 9th Edition, Revision 08.2017. Depending on future changes to the MPEP, the question and answer may or may not be applicable in later Editions or revisions.

Section Summary:

This question and answer comes from section 101 of the MPEP.  The following is a brief summary of section 101.

101 General

Patent applications must be kept confidential. Approved patents, however, are freely open to the public (unless they are under a secrecy order).

There are 3 major types of patent status. These include pending applications, abandoned applications, and issued patents. 37 C.F.R. 1.14 discusses the rules regarding the confidentiality of an application’s status.

In addition, 37 C.F.R. 1.14 covers the confidentiality of patent applications in regards to instances when application status may be revealed to private parties within the public. 35 U.S.C. 122 states the specific times when patent related documents will be published by the PTO.