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This data serves the purpose, among others, of enabling any patent based on the priority application to be easily located. Sources for this data which are not maintained by the Office do exist and can be utilized for locating corresponding patents.
In general, the specification of the second application is identical in substance to the specification of the first. Two possible sources are the Derwent World Patents Index (DWPI) produced by Thomson Reuters, and the International Patent Documentation Center (INPADOC), which is produced by the European Patent Office.
This procedure is referred to as "laying open for public inspection." There is no printed publication of the specification, although an abstract may be published in printed form. In some countries, all that is undertaken is an inspection of the papers to determine if they are in proper form.
If anyone can inspect or obtain copies of the laid open application, then it is sufficiently accessible to the public to constitute a "publication" within the meaning of pre-AIA 35 U. Other countries perform an examination of the merits on the basis of an extensive search of the prior art, as is done in the U. The former are referred to as nonexamining or registration countries, although some systems allow for a rejection on matters apparent on the face of the papers, such as matters of form or statutory subject matter.
In general, pending applications are confidential until a certain stage in the proceedings (e.g., upon patent grant), or until a certain date (e.g., 18 months after filing), as may be specified in a particular law. The full application is thus available as prior art as of either the date of publication of its notice or its laying open to public inspection if this is a later date.
Many countries have adopted the practice of publishing the specification, drawing, or claims of pending applications. See In re Wyer, 655 F.2d 221, 210 USPQ 790 (CCPA 1981). In the second form, several other countries publish the specifications of pending applications in printed form at a specified time, usually 18 months after filing.
Information pertaining to those countries from which the most patent publications are received is given in the following sections and in MPEP § 901.05(a).
Other countries may sometimes print the inventors’ names only when available or when requested to do so. However, in many countries and in PCT cases, the word application refers only to the paper, usually a printed form, which is to be "accompanied by" or have "attached" to it certain other papers, namely a specification, drawings when necessary, claims, and perhaps other papers.
Unless it is otherwise noted in the following portions of this section, the term "application" refers to the entire set of papers filed.
In these countries, the publication of the contents of the application occurs at a certain time, usually 18 months after filing. These documents, of course, constitute references as printed publications.
The applicant is given certain provisional rights upon publication even though examination has not been completed or in some cases has not even begun at the time of publication. In the first form, some countries publish a notice giving certain particulars in their official journal, and thereafter, any one may see the papers at the patent office or order copies. Patent law administration varies from country to country.
Some additional details on the most commonly cited foreign patent publications may be found under the individual country in paragraph V., below. These events include the following: In most foreign countries, various ones of these events occur on different days and some of them may never occur at all.