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Questionnaire on application numbering

Response 1 of 1 submitted by Bulgaria in 2012


1.      The revised version of WIPO Standard ST.13 was adopted by the Standards and Documentation Working Group (SDWG) of the Standing Committee on Information Technologies (SCIT) in February 2008.  This revision introduced guidelines on a prototype numbering format of application numbers, including guidelines for coding the types of industrial property rights (IPRs), codes for internal use, control numbers, etc.

2.      Application numbers are assigned by industrial property offices (IPOs) in order to identify each application received, and are used by applicants and other offices, for instance, when the priority is claimed.  It is important that IPOs, applicants, and users of IP information are always able to identify application numbers, and particularly priority application numbers, as well as their parts, in a unique, clear, and unambiguous manner.

3.      The term priority application number in the context of this questionnaire is the reference to an application for a patent, trademark, design or any other IPR, previously received by the Office/Organization, and to which the applicant wishes to refer in a further application, usually filed with another Office/Organization.  Generally, these numbers are provided on priority documents or priority certificates.

4.      IPOs use a variety of codes in their application numbers, for instance, for coding types of IPRs, regional filing information, and check digits.  The codes used by each IPO are unique, and the detailed information on them, as well as on the application number format, might be very important for other IPOs to facilitate their subsequent procedures, e.g. when claiming a priority right.

5.      The SDWG requested the International Bureau to conduct a survey on application and priority application numbering systems currently used by the IPOs.  The International Bureau should also maintain a list of codes for the types of IPRs, the codes for internal use and the control numbers (check digits) used by the IPOs in the WIPO Handbook on Industrial Property Information and Documentation (WIPO Handbook).

6.      The main part of the present Questionnaire (Questions 1 – 11) is devoted to application numbering systems. Question 12 concentrates on priority application numbering in details. Question 13 relates to the compliance of the IPO’s practices with WIPO Standard ST.13. Examples of application numbers and priority application numbers along with relevant remarks are to be provided in response to Question 14.

7.      Please note that the objective of this questionnaire is to collect information about numbering systems currently implemented in the IPOs.  It is expected that once this exercise is completed the ST.10/C Task Force will prepare a questionnaire to conduct a second survey to collect information about numbering systems used by the IPOs in the past.

Background documents

8.      The following WIPO Standards are of relevance to this survey:

9.     Part 7.2 “Numbering systems” of the WIPO Handbook could be also helpful when you prepare your response to this questionnaire.

10.   Working materials of the SDWG and the ST.10/C Task Force are available on the WIPO web-site.


One response to questionnaire per numbering system

Offices administering the variety of IPRs might have more than one numbering system.  Firstly the person who responds to the Questionnaire on behalf of the Office/Organization has to determine the number of different application numbering systems implemented in the Office/Organization.  Let this number be N.

Example 1:

A given office administers trademarks, industrial designs, and different kinds of patents (national patents, PCT, plant patents).
All kinds of patent applications have a numbering system which looks like this:

10 2008 123456       patent application filed in 2008 with the serial number 123456

12 2008 666777       plant patent application filed in the same year with serial number 666777

14 2008 987654       PCT international application filed in 2008 with serial number 987654

At the same office, trademark and industrial design applications follow a different numbering system:

123456 T 08            trademark application with serial number 123456 filed in 2008

123456 D 08            industrial design application filed in the same year.

Thus, the Office has two numbering systems, N=2
. As the office uses two numbering systems, two separate questionnaires should be filled, one per numbering system.

Gaps in question numbers

Please take note that some questions might not be displayed depending on the response(s) to preceding question(s). This could cause gaps in numbering of displayed questions, sections and examples.

Mandatory questions

Some questions, marked with a red asterisk *, are mandatory since the reply to these questions determines the rest of the questionnaire.


Below please find the complete list of examples used in the Questionnaire in PDF format.

If you require further clarifications or any assistance in filling out the questionnaire, please contact the International Bureau at
cws.surveys@wipo.int. It would be appreciated if a reference to “Questionnaire on application numbering” is quoted in all correspondence.

List of examples


Example 2:

Relating to Example 1 in the introductory section, the office would have filled two questionnaires – one for the numbering system used for patent (and patent-like) applications, and another – and one for the numbering system used for trademark and design applications.
In the first case, the office would tick all check boxes for the patents it numbers using the first system.
In the second case, the office would then tick the check boxes for trademarks and designs which are numbered using the second system.

Question 1

a) Please indicate which types of IPRs are numbered using this system:

  • Patents
  • SPCs (Supplementary Protection Certificates)
  • Utility Models / Utility certificates
  • Industrial designs

b) Please specify when this current numbering system was first introduced at your office (date or year, dd/mm/yyyy):



WIPO Standard ST.13 provides that the indispensable part of an application number should consist of a code for the type of IPR, the year designation, and the serial number.

Question 2

a) Which of these parts does your Office/Organization’s application numbering system, covered by this copy of the questionnaire, consist of?

  • IP right code
  • Serial number


WIPO Standard ST.13 recommends the ordering (sequence) of parts of an application number to be 'type' 'year' 'serial number'.

Question 3

a) Please indicate what is the ordering of the parts of an application number in the numbering system covered by this copy of the questionnaire:

According to ST.13: [type][year][serial number]


WIPO Standard ST.13 recommends using a fixed length of 15 characters (2 digits for the type of IPR, 4 digits for the year designation, and 9 digits for the serial number) for the application number.

Question 4

a) Does your Office/Organization use a numbering system of fixed or variable length for application numbers?


Question 4 (cont'd) Replying to the previous question, you have specified that the numbering system has fixed length.

b) Please indicate the number of characters used for each part of the application number.

Code for the type of IPR


Serial number


Example 5:

For the case described in Examples 3 and 4 above, the response could be as follows:

code for the type of IP right                       2
year designation                                       4
serial number                                           9
Additional part 1 (receiving office code)      1


WIPO Standard ST.13 recommends coding the type of IPR as an indispensable part of the application number. The following codes are provided for in the Standard:

10-19: patent applications

10:         applications for patents for inventions
11:         applications for patents from Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications
    (PCT applications in the national phase)
12-19:    office use
20-29: utility model applications
20:         applications for utility models
21:         applications for utility models from PCT applications
22-29:    office use
30-89: office use
(applications for other IPRs: industrial designs, trademarks, layout-designs (topographies) of integrated circuits, SPCs, etc.)
90-99: reserved for use by the International Bureau of WIPO
91:         international applications filed under the PCT in the international phase

Question 5

a) Does your Office/Organization include the code for the type of IPR in the application number?


Question 5 (cont'd)  Replying to the previous question, you have specified that the code for the type of IPR is included in the application number.

b) Please indicate whether your Office/Organization uses letters, numerals or both for coding the type of IPR in the application numbers.

Both letters and numerals

Example 7:

“U” for utility model would be “Only letters”; “20” for utility models ‑ “only numerals”

d) Please indicate the codes which your Office/Organization uses in application numbers for the types of IPRs covered by this part of the questionnaire.



SPCs (Supplementary Protection Certificates)


Utility Models / Utility certificates


Industrial designs


Example 9:

For the scenario described in Example 1, the table would be filled in as follows:

For copy 1 of 2 (first numbering system which relates to patents and patent-like applications)

IP right            Code
patents                 10
plant patents         12
PCT applications   14

For copy 2 of 2 (second numbering system relating to trademarks and designs)

IP right                Code
trademarks             T
industrial designs    D


WIPO Standard ST.13 recommends coding a year with four digits according to the Gregorian calendar.  Furthermore, it recommends that if an IPO does not wish to provide a year designation, the corresponding digits in the application number can be set to “0000” for the machine-readable form (electronic storage, exchange or identification), at the same time “0000” can be omitted for the purpose of display or print presentation.

Question 6

a) Does your Office/Organization code year information in the application number?



For the serial number as an indispensable part of the application number, WIPO Standard ST.13 recommends a fixed length of nine digits to be used at each office’s discretion.  All nine digits should be employed in the machine-readable form.  Leading zeros may be omitted for presentation.  Gaps in sequential numbering schemes are permitted.  The order of assignment of serial numbers does not necessarily need to reflect the order of registration.  Starting at 1 each year is not necessary.  When regional filing information forms a part of the application number, this information must be coded in the first two positions of the serial number.

Question 7

a) Does your Office/Organization use a serial number in application numbers?


Question 7 (cont'd) Replying to the previous question, you have specified that the serial number is used in application numbers

b) Does your Office/Organization use a serial number of fixed or variable length?


c) Are the numbers sequential?


d) Are there gaps in the numbering sequences?


e) Are leading zeros omitted for presentation (print and display)?


f) Does your Office/Organization use an annual numbering system (i.e. a serial number that restarts every year)?



Some IPOs include regional filing information (i.e. the sub-office or state office in which the application was filed) in the application number. WIPO Standard ST.13 states that this information can be coded in the 9 digit serial number and if included it must be located at the first two positions of the serial number. In this case, these two positions can also be characters. If a country code is used for identifying different member offices of intergovernmental organizations, WIPO Standard ST.3 applies.

Question 8

a) Does your Office/Organization include codes for internal use in the application number?



WIPO Standard ST.13 recommends the following basic rules for control numbers (check digits):  they should consist of a single numeral, be in a computer-readable form, and be located at the last position (furthest to the right) of the nine-digit serial number.

Question 9

a) Does your Office/Organization use a control number (check digit)?



Question 10

Do the application numbers described in the above numbering system contain any other information not already covered in this questionnaire?



WIPO Standard ST.13 provides 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 Standard recommends that separators are not included in the computer-readable form, and should be used only for presentation.  According to the Standard the following elements may be used as separators:  a slash “/”, a hyphen “-” or a space “ ”.

Question 11

a) Does your Office/Organization use one or more separators in application numbers?


Question 11 (cont'd) Replying to the previous question, you have specified that one or more separators are used in application numbers

b) Please indicate what separators does your Office/Organization use:

  • Slash '/'

c) Please describe how these separators are used:

Example -SPC 142007/00068

Example 17:

Between the type of IPR and the year designation there is a space, between the year designation and the serial number there is a slash and between the serial number and the check digit there is a dot. space/. e.g. 10 2010/345678.4

d) Please specify, in which formats separators are used:

Both in the computer-readable form and for presentation


Question 12

a) Does your Office/Organization use the same format and presentation for priority application numbers as for application numbers as described above in Questions 2 - 11?



Question 13

a) Does the numbering system, covered by this copy of the questionnaire, conform to WIPO Standard ST.13?


Question 13 (cont'd) Replying to the previous question, you have specified that the numbering system covered by this copy of the questionnaire partially conforms to WIPO Standard ST.13.

b) Please indicate which parts deviate from the Standard:

Example 19:

In the case described in Examples 3 and 4 above the response could be as follows: Deviations in the ordering of parts, additional part for regional filing information.


Question 14

Example 20:

Please see attached file:

Click here to find table filled by various Offices

a) Please fill in the table below or skip questions 14 a) to c) and attach a file similar to the one provided in the Example 20 under question 14 d).

Country or Organization
(name of Office/Organization)

Bulgarian Patent Office

Example of application number

10110685 A

Recommended presentation in abbreviated form
as a priority application number

b) The numbering system is used from (date format dd/mm/yyyy)

c) Please explain the components of application and priority application numbers provided in the table above

In addition to providing information on the type, serial number, code for internal use, and control number, please explain the general idea of the structure and/or characteristic of your application numbering system under the bullet 'Description of the numbering system', if needed.

Description of the numbering system

Type of IP rights

Year designation

Serial number

Code for Internal use

Control number check digit