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Patent Codes


Note: Reprinted form the USPTO Site

"Kind Codes" Included on USPTO Patent Documents

On January 2, 2001, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) began printing the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) Standard ST.16 code on each of its published patent documents. WIPO Standard ST.16 codes (kind codes) include a letter, and in many cases a number, used to distinguish the kind of patent document (e.g., publication of an application for a utility patent (patent application publication), patent, plant patent application publication, plant patent, or design patent) and the level of publication (e.g., first publication, second publication, or corrected publication). Detailed information on Standard ST.16 and the use of kind codes by patent offices throughout the world is available on the WIPO web site at, under the links for WIPO standards and other documentation.

In addition, some kind codes assigned to existing USPTO patent documents were changed due to the upcoming introduction of USPTO patent application publications resulting from the American Inventors Protection Act of 1999 (AIPA). The first patent application publications are expected to be published in Mid-March 2001. Thereafter, patent application publications will be published weekly on Thursday. An example of the front page of a utility patent application publication follows this notice. Additional information on the AIPA, including the rules pertaining to publication of patent applications, is posted on the USPTO web site at:

The tables below give a summary of the kind codes which are no longer being used on certain published patent documents as well as a summary of the kind codes which will be used on published patent documents after January 2, 2001. It is recommended that USPTO documents be identified by the following three elements: 1) the two-character country code (US for United States of America); 2) the patent or publication number; and 3) the WIPO ST.16 kind code. For example, "US 7,654,321 B1" for U.S. Patent No. 7,654,321 where there was no previously-published patent application publication, and "US 2003/1234567 A1" for U.S. Patent Application Publication No. 2003/1234567, published in 2003. Each year the numbering of published patent applications will begin again with the new four digit year and the number 0000001, so the number of a patent application publication must include an associated year.

USPTO Kind Codes


NOTE: End of Reprint from the USPTO

 © Lee A. Jesberger - 2008

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