What is a Patent Application Publication?
The USPTO will publish a patent application 18 months after the patent application’s priority date. The confusing part is that this publication of a patent application looks just a patent to a layperson. However, this document is just a publication of someone’s patent application. Any claims in that document have not necessarily be allowed, nor is there any reason to believe that they ever will be.
You can determine if the document is just a published application because it will say “United States Patent Application Publication” on the upper left of the first page, and the number on the upper right will start with a year.
An actual patent says “United States Patent” on the upper left of the first page, and it will have a seven-digit number on the upper right. (Patent no. 1,000,000 was issued in 1911, so anything before that will obviously just have six digits or less.)
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