File Histories

  • Patented File Histories
Patented file histories are stored in two different warehouses. 

  • Files from the late 1800s are in the main warehouse. These files are usually pulled and sent to the PTO record room within 1-2 days of ordering.
  • Files from the days of Thomas Jefferson to the late 1800s are kept in the National Archives. We can obtain copies of these patent files from the National Archives. It normally takes several weeks to obtain these files since they are stored in various facilities throughout the country and must be sent to the National Archives in Washington, DC for us to copy.

The most oft-asked question is: “Are we allowed to go to the warehouse to get files faster?”

And the answer is—NO.  No one is allowed to do this.

  • Non-Patent Literature (NPL’s)
For electronic files, Non-Patent Literature (NPL’s) are available at the PTO. We can provide you with copies of these documents.For paper files we can provide the Non-Patent Literature (NPL’s) if the NPL’s are in the physical file.NPL’s are listed as “Other Publications” on the face of the patent.
  • Pending Files/Powers to Inspect
We must have a power to inspect to be able to copy or review a pending patent file.  Click here for the required form.
  • Published Patent Files
Published patent files under USC 122(b) (18 month publication rule) can also be obtained. No power to inspect is needed.
  • Abandoned Files
If the abandoned application is listed on the face of a US patent, please give us that patent number. If it is not listed on the face of a US patent, we need a power to inspect.  Click here for the required form.