Recognizing the importance of having a format for application numbers that could be widely used by industrial property offices (IPOs), the aim of this Recommendation is to provide guidance to those offices which intend to change their present numbering systems, or to introduce new numbering systems, for applications for patents, for utility models, for trademarks, for industrial designs, for SPCs and for layout‑designs (topographies) of integrated circuits.
Application numbers are primarily used by IPOs in order to identify each application received. They are also utilized by subsequent offices and applicants when priority is claimed. Recently, the need for indicating exact application numbers has been increasing as priority certificates are exchanged among IPOs electronically, and access by IPOs or the public to electronic dossiers is available over the Internet. In this regard, WIPO Standards ST.10/C and ST.13 cover formats and presentations for application numbers; however, the formats and presentations actually employed by IPOs have been historically inconsistent. This inconsistency poses difficulties for other offices and the public as to the correct and complete identification of application numbers. Therefore, it is recommended that IPOs follow the guidance of this Standard when revising existing application numbering systems or creating new application numbering systems.
For the purposes of this Recommendation:
(a) the term “patents” includes such industrial property rights as patents for inventions, plant patents, design patents, inventors’ certificates, utility certificates, utility models, patents of addition, inventors’ certificates of addition and utility certificates of addition;
(b) the term “industrial designs” includes two‑dimensional and three-dimensional features of shape and surface of objects, and thus covers both concepts of “designs” and “models” where a distinction is made between the former and the latter; the term “industrial designs” does not include design patents;
(c) the term “trademarks” means trademarks, service marks or another type of distinguishing signs according to the definition of the marks in the legislation concerned, including but not limited to collective marks, certification marks or guarantee marks;
(d) the term “other industrial property rights (IPRs)” includes layout‑designs (topographies) of integrated circuits and SPCs;
(e) the term “layout-designs (topographies) of integrated circuits” means the three-dimensional disposition, however expressed, of the elements, at least one of which is an active element, and of some or all of the interconnections of an integrated circuit, or such a three‑dimensional disposition prepared for an integrated circuit intended for manufacture;
(f) the term “SPCs” stands for supplementary protection certificates. The SPC takes effect at the end of the term of a patent which protects the product as such, a process to obtain the product or an application of the product.
(a) References to the following Standards are of relevance to this Recommendation:
WIPO Standard ST.3:
Recommended Standard on Two-Letter Codes for the Representation of States, Other Entities and Intergovernmental Organizations.
WIPO Standard ST.10/C:
Presentation of Bibliographic Data Components.
(b) The following Standards should be referred to for information purposes:
WIPO Standard ST.6:
Recommendation for the Numbering of Published Patent Documents.
WIPO Standard ST.34:
Recommendation Concerning the Recording of Application Numbers in Electronic Form for the Exchange of Bibliographic Data.
WIPO Standard ST.60:
Recommendation Concerning Bibliographic Data relating to Marks.
WIPO Standard ST.80:
Recommendation Concerning Bibliographic Data relating to Industrial Designs.
It is recommended that an IPO wishing to change its present numbering system, or intending to introduce a new system for application numbering for IPRs, i.e., patents, trademarks, utility models, industrial designs or other IPRs, should use a system for the application number meeting the requirements in the seven sections listed below:
<type>: the type of industrial property right (2 digits) see Section (b)
<year>: the year designation (4 digits) see Section (c)
<serial>: the serial number (9 digits) see Section (d)
A code for place of filing and a control number may also be included in the application number as an optional part. In this case, both alphabetic and numeric characters may be used for the code for the place of filing.
The WIPO Standard ST.3 country/organization code is not part of the application number except in cases described in Section (e). For representation, however, the application number should always be preceded by the ST.3 code of the corresponding office.
A different format can be used for an application number and a publication number (see WIPO Standard ST.6).
The code for the type of IPR forms an indispensable part of the application number. IPOs introducing parallel numbering series for different types of IPRs are recommended to use two digits (numeric characters only), which represent the type of IPR, in order to avoid possible confusion with the country code, which is represented by two alphabetic characters in accordance with WIPO Standard ST.3. Each category for two digits of the numeric character is listed below:
A fixed length of nine digits is preferably required
All nine digits should be employed for electronic storage, exchange or identification (machine‑readable form)
Leading zeros may be omitted for presentation in documents or displays of document images (human‑readable form)
Starting at the number 1 each year is not necessary
The code for internal use forms an optional part of the application number. If IPOs wish to use a certain code for indicating place of filing where there is an overlap in the number sequences among different regional offices within a country or an organization, the code for internal use should be used as an optional part of the application number. However, when the country code is used for identifying different member offices of intergovernmental organizations, WIPO Standard ST.3 applies. The code for internal use can be used at the discretion of each office.
If an office wishes to code regional filing information in the application number, office internal information can be coded in the nine digits for the serial number (see Section (d)).
The code must be located at the first two positions of the serial number. In this case, these two positions can also be characters.
The control number should consist of a single numeral
The control number should be in computer-readable form
The control number should be located at the last position (furthest to the right) of the nine-digit serial number
It should be noted that separators may be used for separating different elements in the application number (the type of IPR, the year designation, and the serial number). The separator is not part of the computer-readable form, and should be used only for presentation. The following elements may be used as a separator: a slash, “/”; a hyphen, “-”; or a space, “ ”.
It should be noted that the two-letter IPO code according to WIPO Standard ST.3 does not form part of the application number. However, the ST.3 code should be associated with the application number, since there is a need to uniquely identify the application and the IPO that received the application or under whose rules the application was filed. In using the ST.3 code, it is recommended that the code precede the application number and, when printed, be separated from the application number by a space.
It is recalled that application numbers as presented in documents relating to patents for inventions, to plant patents, to design patents, to utility models, or to industrial designs, or as published in official gazettes, are frequently the only means to identify all members of a patent family. Therefore, it is considered important to present application numbers, and particularly priority application numbers, in a clear and unambiguous manner enabling the application to be uniquely identified.
IPOs may start using this Recommendation at any time. It is recommended that when implementing WIPO Standard ST.13 for the numbering of applications, a timely announcement to that effect should be made in official publications, e.g., in the gazette, and that the International Bureau of WIPO should also be informed, e.g., by being forwarded a copy of such a publication.
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