Questions about country codes in different types of patent numbers

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GillG
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Joined: Wed Aug 28, 2019 4:42 am

Questions about country codes in different types of patent numbers

Post by GillG » Wed Aug 28, 2019 5:30 am

Dear colleagues, I need help to clear my mind on the country code used in different types of patent number. I'm working on a research project and this is critical to make sure I'm making the correct hypothesis. Appreciate your help to answer the questions below:
1. Does the country code in the priority number indicate the country where the first priority was filed?
2. Does the country code in the application number indicate where the patent was filed, which might be later than the priority and different from the priority country?
Furthermore, if a patent's priority number is US2014... and application number is CN2015..., does it indicate the invention was probably done in the United States (inventors in the U.S. while they were working on the invention?) and then filed in China? What's the possible scenario?
In the search results, it seems that a patent can have multiple priority numbers that refer to multiple claims, but only one application number. But I also believe a patent can be filed in multiple countries/regions as in a patent family. So why do I always see only one application number per patent?
3. Does the country code in the publication number indicate where the patent was published - following an application in the same country, I assume?
Furthermore, one patent can be published in multiple countries, as in the "Also published as" field. Does it mean a separate application has been filed in each of the country/region for there to be a publication number starting with the country code, including EP and WO?
Is it possible to see a patent with different country codes in its application number and publication number? If yes, what's the possible scenario?
4. Country code of inventors: Is it nationality or residence address?
5. Country code of applicants: Is it the country where the applicant/institute is registered or the physical location of the very division where the invention was developed?
For example, there are patents with applicant country as Japan, inventor country as China, priority number beginning with US and application number beginning with EP. Does it mean a company headquartered in Japan has a Chinese-nationality employee working in the company's U.S. office who developed the patent. They claimed priority through USPTO, but then decided to seek for IP protection in Europe because the potential product is targeted to be launched in Europe?
If the company does have a division in the U.S. or any employees working in the U.S., but still claim priority through USPTO, what might be the reason?

Many thanks!!!


EPO / OPS Support
Posts: 1027
Joined: Thu Feb 22, 2007 5:32 pm

Re: Questions about country codes in different types of patent numbers

Post by EPO / OPS Support » Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:04 am

1. Does the country code in the priority number indicate the country where the first priority was filed?
Yes, it indicates a country of the first filling for purpose of claiming priority date. See WIKI (or look up other sources) for more details: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Priority_right : “if priority is validly claimed, the date of filing of the first application, called the priority date, is considered to be the effective date of filing for the examination of novelty and inventive step or non-obviousness for the subsequent application claiming the priority of the first application. In other words, the prior art which is taken into account for examining the novelty and inventive step or non-obviousness of the invention claimed in the subsequent application would not be everything made available to the public before the filing date (of the subsequent application) but everything made available to the public before the priority date, i.e. the date of filing of the first application.”

2. Does the country code in the application number indicate where the patent was filed, which might be later than the priority and different from the priority country?
Yes, application date is typically up to one year later than priority date. Yes, application and priority would usually not be from the same country, however internal priorities (that is, same country) are possible in certain countries.

Furthermore, if a patent's priority number is US2014... and application number is CN2015..., does it indicate the invention was probably done in the United States (inventors in the U.S. while they were working on the invention?) and then filed in China? What's the possible scenario?
Please bear in mind that each jurisdiction might have different requirements, so provision here varies from one country to another. Also note that we are not experts in US patent law. However, it sees common in the US patent law that patent applications must be filed first in the country where the invention took place, irrespective of the residency or nationality of applicant or inventor. Please refer to the USPTO for details relating to the US patent procedures.

In the search results, it seems that a patent can have multiple priority numbers that refer to multiple claims, but only one application number.
Yes, that is correct.

But I also believe a patent can be filed in multiple countries/regions as in a patent family.
As a patent provides protection for a limited territory only, the same invention needs to be filed as patent application in different jurisdictions in order to get broader protection. The concept of patent families is used in databases to group related patent applications in multiple jurisdictions. Please bear in mind that different databases might have different patent family compositions, all depending on the family rules applied in that specific data source. For patent families at the EPO see: https://www.epo.org/searching-for-pate ... ocdb.html

So why do I always see only one application number per patent?
Each invention should only be filed one time in a specific country :https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patentability . A published patent application or a published granted patent are publications following this one and only one application.

3. Does the country code in the publication number indicate where the patent was published - following an application in the same country, I assume?
In case of publications deriving from a national patent procedure, yes. Things might be a bit more complicated in case of procedures relating to regional offices like EP, WO, EA etc. After the publication of an EP or WO document you need to look for entries into national phase in designated countries in order to see if such application is granted or registered at national level. Those entries can be in the form of a re-published publication (or translation of publication), entry into a register or similar. Also, it is very important to check if all necessary fees were paid.

Furthermore, one patent can be published in multiple countries, as in the "Also published as" field. Yes, in “Also published as” you see equivalent filings of that same application in other countries (in other words, patents belonging to the same simple family). We also link divisional, US continuations in part and US provisional filings into our simple family in Espacenet aka “Also published as”- see Simple DOCDB family page: https://www.epo.org/searching-for-pate ... cdb.html

Does it mean a separate application has been filed in each of the country/region for there to be a publication number starting with the country code, including EP and WO?
Yes. Again please be careful in case of regional protection to verify that in a specific country a regional patent might be valid. In case of the EP patent procedure I would refer you to a table on our website called “Sources of information on national phase entries of EP patents” where information about EP’s national entry sources: https://www.epo.org/searching-for-paten ... ular.html

Is it possible to see a patent with different country codes in its application number and publication number? If yes, what's the possible scenario?
This is possible only in rare cases such as when countries/jurisdictions cease to exist and ongoing patent applications are published by the new country/jurisdiction. For instance, when the USSR ceased to exist, applications with filing country code SU were later published by the Russian Patent Office with publication country code RU (or YU etc)

4. Country code of inventors: Is it nationality or residence address?
That depends strictly on the patent law of specific country. You will find a lot of different articles about it on the internet.

5. Country code of applicants: Is it the country where the applicant/institute is registered or the physical location of the very division where the invention was developed?
Again it depends on the national laws of specific country and sometimes even patent strategy of specific companies that are spread over multiple countries.

For example, there are patents with applicant country as Japan, inventor country as China, priority number beginning with US and application number beginning with EP. Does it mean a company headquartered in Japan has a Chinese-nationality employee working in the company's U.S. office who developed the patent.
They claimed priority through USPTO, but then decided to seek for IP protection in Europe because the potential product is targeted to be launched in Europe? This one possible scenario, but it is hard to confirm that this is the case for sure. Patent systems worldwide are complicated and this might be a too simplistic way of looking at things. There are strategies that companies follow either to get protection quickly, cheaper to often to hide their interest from competitors. Companies mostly seek protection for a number of different jurisdictions, not just one, because their interests are wider than national.


If the company does have a division in the U.S. or any employees working in the U.S., but still claim priority through USPTO, what might be the reason?
Possibly because they must file in the US if the invention was developed there, or others will do it simply because they are interested in the US market, in addition to other countries.

Sometimes it is good to look at a specific technical field and focus first at its biggest applicants, take time to study those companies first and try to determent patent strategies they are following. Most probably patent data will only then make more sense, as it is difficult to explain patent data in absolute terms. There are a lot of good sources of information available on the internet and the EPO offers certain trainings to follow online or in person, so feel free to look if there is something of interest to you coming up any time soon: https://www.epo.org/learning-events/events.html and https://www.epo.org/learning-events/e-learning.html .


Regards
Vesna for EPO's Bulk data and OPS support


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