How to Cite a Patent Application

Published Patent Application

Step 1

Determine whether your patent application is published or unpublished. If you applied for a utility patent or plant application (as opposed to a design patent) 18 months ago or more, and you have not requested that it not be published, the USPTO has probably published it. If you are unsure, ask the USPTO or your patent agent or attorney.

Step 2

Gather the information listed in the USPTO's Manual of Patent Examining Procedure, Rule 707.05(d)(1), which states that its examiners should cite domestic patent applications using the "publication number, publication date, and the names of the applicants."

Step 3

Cite by analogy to "The Bluebook," which provides this example for a patent:

"U.S. Patent No. 4,405,829 (issued Sept. 20, 1983)."

Assuming your name is John Smith; your application number is 07/123,456; your publication number is 20091231234; and the publication date is March 1, 2009, cite the application this way:

"U.S. Patent Application No. 07/123,456, Publication No. 20091231234 (published Mar. 1, 2009)(John Smith, applicant)."

Unpublished Patent Application

Step 1

For unpublished patent applications, you need the application number and the "filing date assigned to that application" by the USPTO.

Step 2

Obtain the application number and filing date from the filing receipt that the USPTO sent you.

Step 3

Cite by analogy to "The Bluebook". Assuming your name is John Smith; your application number is 037/123,456; and the filing date is March 1, 2009, cite the application this way:

"U.S. Patent Application No. 037/123,456, Unpublished (filing date Mar. 1, 2009) (John Smith, applicant)."

References

Resources

About the Author

Byron Berger is a licensed attorney and registered civil engineer. Since 1998, he has contributed articles to legal and engineering periodicals, including "ADC Comment" and "Philosophical Magazine." Berger holds a B.S. in materials engineering from Michigan Technological University, as well as a J.D. from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law.