Written by attorney Deepak Malhotra

How to Check the Status of Your Pending Patent Application

So you’ve filed your patent application and it seems like nothing has happened for a long time. You could ask your attorney about the status, but you would billed for that. Or maybe your attorney is buried with work and sometimes takes a while to report actions from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to you.

If you would like to check the status of your patent application, or someone else’s for that matter, it is easy to do after it has been published. Here’s how.

  1. Start by going to using a browser that has Java and cookies enabled.
  2. Click on Checking Application Status, under Patents.
  3. Click on Public PAIR. PAIR stands for Patent Application Information Retrieval.
  4. Enter the displayed CAPTCHA words into the box and click the Continue button.
  5. Leave the radio button with the default selection of Application Number and type your patent application serial number, without any commas, in the box labeled “Enter Number," then click SEARCH.
  6. The screen that comes up will give you a fair amount of information about the application including the Examiner name, class and subclass (indicating how the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has classified your technology), first named inventor, status, and location.
  7. Click on the tab marked Transaction History. It will show a list of transactions in reverse chronological order. The top most entry is the most recent thing that happened. Hopefully it is something that your attorney did for you, not something that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office did and that requires a response.
  8. Click on the tab marked Image File Wrapper. It shows a list of downloadable documents, in reverse chronological order. The top-most document will be the last document sent by your attorney or issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
  9. To view a copy, click the box to the right of the document name, under the blue PDF box/heading.
  10. Click on the blue PDF box to download the document. You can open the document after you have downloaded it. Your browser may have a default directory where all downloaded items go, or you may be able to specify where you want the downloaded document to go.
  11. If you want to download multiple documents into a combined PDF, check the boxes of the documents you want to combine then click the blue PDF box.

The PDFs of the documents at the top of the list should give you an indication of the current status of your application. If they indicate that some action is required on your part, contact your attorney.

After your application has been published, you might want to check the status every six months or so, to make sure nothing is missed and all Office Actions are responded to promptly.

Note that this only works after your application has been published. Before your application is published, you will have to ask your attorney to check the status for you.

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