The first page (or “cover page”) of a patent document includes a specific set of headings and fields with identifying and descriptive information. So that all essential fields and headings can fit on this page, longer fields are sometimes continued on subsequent pages.
To help standardize and overcome language and formatting differences, the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO) maintains a list of INID codes, or "Internationally agreed Numbers for the Identification of (bibliographic) Data (pdf),” which most patent offices have adopted and use on the first page of each patent document. The field definitions below are preceded by these INID codes, where applicable.
Note that some fields on the example do not have headings, thus the field definitions below refer to terminology used in the patent example provided (e.g., “OAT PLANTS HAVING INCREASED BETA-GLUCAN LEVELS”).
(12) [United States Patent]
Type of patent document, including territory and distinction between patent and patent application.
(10) Patent No.
Patent document identifier. In this case, the number appears in the following format:
US 9,414,558 B2
US = country code (as defined by WIPO)
9,414,558 = unique identifier assigned to granted patents (published U.S. patent applications are assigned unique identifiers in a different format that begins with the year, e.g., US 2014/0304851 A1)
B1 = kind code (or status code) of the patent document. Commonly-used U.S. common codes include A1 (patent application publication), B1 (granted utility patent for which no application was previously published), and B2 (utility patent for which an application was previously published). The USPTO maintains a list of current and previously used US kind codes.
Some U.S. patent applications include additional letters directly preceding the unique identifier to indicate design patents (e.g., US D652,181 B2) and plant patents (e.g., US PP11,728 B2).
(45) Date of Patent
Date on which the granted patent document was published. This date does not indicate filing date or priority and cannot be used to estimate the term of protection.
(54) [OAT PLANTS HAVING INCREASED BETA-GLUCAN LEVELS]
Title of the invention. Note that the language used here explains the basic function of the invention, but does not include brand names or colloquial terms.
Name and city of the patent applicant. This may or may not be the same as the name of the inventor or rights-holder of the invention.
Name and city of the inventor. The inventor may or may not be the same as the applicant or rights-holder of the invention. Inventors are always named as individuals, not organizations. If a team of 35 researchers designed the invention for a corporation, all 35 researchers would be listed on the patent documentation as the inventor, even if the corporation maintains the rights. These names are listed on the patent in perpetuity even after the patent expires or if the rights are reassigned.
Name and address of grantee, owner, assignee, or owner (language may vary depending on the patent-granting body). This may be an individual or business and reflects the rights owner at the time that the patent is granted. If the rights are assigned to another party during the life of the patent, this will be reflected on official and most third-party patent databases, but patent offices do not update the original document.
Patent term extension or adjustment notice, if applicable.
(21) App. No.
Number of the patent application associated with this granted patent. Patent applications are assigned both application numbers and publication numbers (the latter of which appear at the top of the published application, if published).
Filing date of the patent application. This may or may not be the priority date for the granted patent, depending on whether a provisional patent application was filed, as well as other circumstances (e.g., the patent’s term was extended due to an unusually long review process by the USPTO or other governmental offices, such as the FDA).
(65) Prior Publication Date
Previously published USPTO documents directly related to this patent. In this case, the USPTO published the non-provisional patent application for this invention (US 2014/0304851 A) on October 9, 2014.
Related U.S. Application Data
Fields below this heading detail additional applications relevant to this granted patent, including provisional patents and other related patent applications. The example provided includes information about a provisional patent application (indicated with INID code 60).
(51) Int. Cl.
International Patent Class (IPC) assigned during the examination process. IPC is a hierarchical classification system established in 1971 and used by patent offices internationally. It is one of several classification systems intended to simplify prior art searching by grouping similar technologies regardless of language or specific terminology used.
(52) U.S. Cl.
Domestic or national classification(s) assigned during the examination process. The USPTO and European Patent Office (EPO) currently classify patents using Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC), a system jointly developed by the USPTO and EPO to further comply with the IPC system. Previous to 2013 and 2015 respectively, the EPO and USPTO used internal classification systems. The EPO patent searching database, Espacenet, includes a helpful CPC class browse.
USPTO examiners often assign more than one CPC classification to inventions. In the example provided, examiners originally assigned only one CPC classification, A01H 5/10 (broadly including seeds for flowering plants), which is reflected on the original patent document. Subsequently, international patent offices created a new CPC classification, A01H 6/46, which covers flowering plants including “Gramineae or Poaceae, e.g. ryegrass, rice, wheat or maize”. This new classification is not added to the original patent document, but is recorded on records available in U.S. and international patent searching databases.
When multiple CPC classes are included in this field, bolded classes represent the “inventive” aspects of the patented invention (i.e., these are the classes most associated with the novel, non-obvious qualities protected, while the non-bold classes may be associated with more general qualities of the patented invention).
Print patent documents (captured in PDF format) reflect only the CPC classes assigned at the time of publication. The USPTO may assign additional CPCs after publication as needed. In the case of this patent,
(58) Field of Classification Search
Classifications that the examiner searched while conducting a prior art search for this patent. These may or may not correspond entirely with the classifications that were ultimately assigned to the patent. In this case, examiners used a means other than classification searching to conduct a prior art search (explained below).
Prior art searches for granted patents and patent applications (as well as many other documents and transactions from the patent process) are publicly available on the USPTO’s Patent Center database. To view the examiner’s search process for the oat plant example,
- Access Patent Center.
- Search by Patent #
- Enter 9414558 (the patent number without the country code, kind code, or commas).
- On the left menu, select Documents & Transactions.
Among the documents listed are several called “Examiner's search strategy and results”.
- Open the PDF associated with any of these documents to view strategies used.
For instance, the Examiner's search strategy and results from 4/7/2016 indicate that the examiner searched for prior art in the USPTO’s East patent searching database (which the USPTO has since replaced with a newer examiner database, Patents End-2-End). Rather than searching on classifications, the examiner used keyword searches on terms such as “oat,” “avena sativa,” and “beta glucan.” This may have been necessary at the time of examination due to a lack of narrow CPC classes for plants in the poaceae (or grasses) family [see definition above for (52) U.S. Cl.]. Because seeds for many plants were classed under a single CPC class, A01H 5/10, keyword searching may have provided a better means of narrowing the search.
(56) References Cited
All patent documents and non-patent literature cited by both applicant and examiner as prior art. Prior art cited by the examiner is noted with an asterisk (*).
Name of the USPTO examiner responsible for conducting the prior art search and examination for the patent.
(74) Attorney, Agent, or Firm
Attorney, agent or firm employed by the patent applicant (if applicable).
One-paragraph description of the invention.
[19 Claims, 2 Drawing Sheets]
Count of the claims and drawing sheets included in this patent document. Both of these sections are explained below. Depending on space available on the cover page, this is sometimes followed by a representative picture from the drawing sheets.