Withdrawn Patents

As I mentioned in an earlier post, patents get withdrawn from time to time. The patent office’s list of them is here, and they add to it all the time. Sometimes patents are withdrawn before they are issued and sometimes it is afterwards. In either case, data for a withdrawn patent can sometimes be found, if you know where to look. (One place you won’t find them is on the patent office’s search page, ppubs,- they are removed when the patent is withdrawn.)

Here’s an example from about a year ago, where one place to check is explained further. If you look at the patents issued on June 23rd, 2020, you’ll notice that there are two plant patents missing. Normally, patent numbers are sequential, but on that day there was no PP31892 or PP31893 (the previous issue date, June 16th, 2020 , ended with PP31891). As you might have guessed, the missing patents were withdrawn, both were never issued.

The patent office makes their Official Gazettes (OGs) available on https://bulkdata.uspto.gov/, which is one place you can look for data about withdrawn patents. So, if you are like me, you’d download the OG for June 23rd, 2020 (https://bulkdata.uspto.gov/data/patent/officialgazette/2020/e-OG20200623_1475-4.zip) to see if it has anything interesting in it.

The zip files contain an html page and one image for each patent issued on that day. It’s not terribly user friendly (there are 24,885 files in the zip file I downloaded ), but if you unzip them into a folder, you can open the html page for a particular patent in a browser. If we look, we’ll see these relevant files in the OG I downloaded:

If I double click on the PP031893’s html file, I see this message in a browser:

If I double click on PP031892’s html file, what I see in a browser is shown at the top of this page (note that I added the Withdrawn watermark, to avoid any confusion – this patent was never issued, but for whatever reason, data for it appeared in the OG). If a patent was withdrawn after being issued, data for it should still be in the OG of the patent’s issue date (the patent office doesn’t go back and remove it).

If you are on a Mac, your mileage may vary, but I’m assuming you’d see the same things in a Mac browser.

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