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Keeping Up With the Patent Applications

by | Mar 30, 2021

Keeping up with the patent applications

Although probably not the makings of a hit TV programme (you never know…), you may wonder from time to time how your patent application(s) are getting along. After all, it can take years for a patent application to be examined in some countries and your attorney might not have sent any updates for a while. It’s often easy to find out by doing a quick search on a national patent register.

Is my UK patent application OK?

Lorem Ipsum is the nonsense Latin-esque placeholder text sometimes seen in a document or webpage which is under construction. Ipsum, on the other hand, is the online service made available by the UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO) for checking the status of a pending application or granted patent. You need to type in the application number or publication number (including the “GB” letters at the start in each case) and the register entry for the selected application is then displayed.


Detailed information about a GB patent application or patent is found in the ‘Documents’ tab.

If it has been officially published, then various details about the application or patent are publicly visible, including whether it is pending, granted or no longer in force. You can select additional options at the side to see documents on the case, e.g. the contents of the application, reports issued by the UK IPO and so on.

If it hasn’t been published yet, then a more limited register entry is displayed with the title of the invention and who has applied for it.

What about my European patent application?

The European Patent Register is the place to look when you want to check the status of a European application or patent (i.e. a patent application seeking patent coverage in some or all of the member states of the European Patent Organisation). If you are concerned about a patent in a specific European country, you would need to consult the national patent register for that country.

To search the EP register, you can either type in the application number (usually “EP” followed by eight numbers, but not the “.X” check digit at the end) or the publication number for a particular European patent or application.

If it has been officially published, then again various details about the application or patent are publicly visible, including whether it is awaiting examination, granted or deemed withdrawn, for example.

EPO Legal Status

The ‘Legal status’ page can have a long list of information so it is sometimes easier to use the ‘Federated register’ option.

You can select additional options at the side to see its legal status, any citations against it, and any corresponding applications in the same ‘patent family’ (although this list is not 100% reliable in every case). The ‘All documents’ link gives an overview of any correspondence regarding the application, including examination reports and opposition documents, for example. If it hasn’t been published yet, then nothing will be shown.

N.B. If the European patent has been granted, then you can use the “Federated register” option at the side to look at whether the patent is in force on a country-by-country basis. In some cases, status information is available on the page, whilst for others you need to click through to each national patent register.

And my US patent application?

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) runs a “Public PAIR” system where you can look up the status of US patent applications and patents. This works for published, non-provisional applications and international (Hague) design registrations which designate the USA.

It is usually easiest to search using the application number (typically in the form XX/XXX,XXX) or the granted patent number (usually 7 or 8 numbers long).

Assuming the application has been officially published in the USA, then various details about the application or patent are publicly visible including whether it is awaiting examination, granted, abandoned, and so on. The ‘image file wrapper’ tab gives access to the documents on the case.

N.B. If you wish to search using the publication number, note that the European Patent Office database (Espacenet) will miss a leading zero in their text for some US publications, but you need include it to be able to find the US register entry. For example, 2020257317 returns an error but 20200257317 works because US2020/0257317 is the number that is printed on the US publication document – which in this case is a US patent application by Tesla.

I’ve got patent applications elsewhere too…

The World Intellectual Property Organization helpfully provides a summary page with links to various patent registers in countries around the world.

It is worth noting that none of the patent registers linked to above (including the UK, European and US registers) will provide real-time updates. However, they are generally a reliable indicator of the status of a particular patent or application.

If you would like any help in finding out more about a particular patent or application, please do get in touch and we would be pleased to assist.

If you have any patent, design or trade mark queries, please contact us via email, by telephone: +44 (0) 1242 691 801, or using the form below and we will be happy to advise and guide you. 



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