MPEP 711.04
Public Access to Abandoned Applications

This is the Ninth Edition of the MPEP, Revision 08.2017, Last Revised in Januay 2018

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711.04    Public Access to Abandoned Applications [R-08.2012]

Access will be provided to the application file itself for any non-Image File Wrapper (IFW) abandoned published application. When access to the IFW system is available in the File Information Unit (FIU) and/or Internet access to abandoned published IFW applications, such files will be provided to the public via the FIU and/or Internet. Since there is no paper file wrapper for IFW applications, if electronic access is not available to the public, then access to IFW files is only available by ordering a copy of the application-as-filed, the file contents of the published application or a specific document in the file of the published application from the Office of Public Records and payment of the appropriate fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.19(b). See 37 CFR 1.14(a)(1)(ii).

Access to an abandoned unpublished application may be provided to any person if a written request for access is submitted, and the abandoned application is identified or relied upon:

  • (A) in a U.S. patent application publication or patent;
  • (B) in statutory invention registration; or
  • (C) in an international application that is published in accordance with PCT Article 21(2).

An application is considered identified in a document such as a patent when the application number or serial number and filing date, first named inventor, title and filing date or other application specific information are provided in the text of the patent, but not when the identification is made in a paper in the file contents of the patent and is not included in the printed patent. See 37 CFR 1.14(a)(1)(iv). A copy of the application-as-filed, the file contents of the abandoned application, or a specific document in the file of the abandoned application may also be provided to any person upon written request, and payment of the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.19(b). See 37 CFR 1.14(a)(1)(iv). See also MPEP § 103. Form PTO/SB/68 may be used to request access of an abandoned application under 37 CFR 1.14(a)(1)(iv).