TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Disclaimer about the Legal Status data
- Legal state
- Legal status
- Coverage of legal status
- Syntax and structure of the Legal Status field /ACT
The legal status of patents, including Expected Expiration Date (hereafter, the "indicators"), is dependent on the accuracy & timeliness of the information provided by the patent offices. The indicators may change at any time without notice based on new information received from the patent offices. No decision should be made based solely on the indicators. Questel does not guarantee in any way the indicators and the time frame in which they are updated, and cannot be held liable for the consequences that would result from using the indicators.
The families can be sorted according to their Legal state. Two situations are possible here: Alive or Dead.
The family legal state is defined by the legal state of the members. At least one member must be Alive to consider a family as Alive.
A family is Dead when all the members are seen as dead.
The Legal Status indicates what is the legal standing of an application and thus, the family.
Five statuses are available. These statuses are connected to the Legal state Alive or Dead:
- Alive statuses
- Granted: the patent application has been granted and the maintenance fees are paid on time. A family is granted when at least one member has the status Granted.
- Pending: the application is currently in process but the patent has not yet been issued. A family is Pending when at least, one member has the status Pending, and no member is granted.
- Dead statuses
- Revoked: if the application has been revoked by an Office's decision, in general after an examiner's refusal or administrative procedure.
- Expired: if the application has reached the end of its protection, thus all the annual/maintenance fees have been paid to the very last year (which is the most expensive payment).
- Lapsed: if the application has no maintenance fees paid, or deemed to be withdrawn, and no event corresponding to the above statuses, then it is considered as Lapsed. This status is the most frequent status for dead procedures.
You may search legal status on its own or in combination with other search criteria (keywords, classification codes, etc.). For comprehensive US legal status searches, please see the list of event codes here
Coverage of legal status
Legal status is available for the following countries:
Former East Germany
Moldova (Rep. of)
For Bulgaria, Belize, Belorussia, Croatia, Egypt, Georgia, Kenya, Latvia, Malaysia, Mexico, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Uzbekistan and South Africa, the database only contains information on entry into national phase of the corresponding PCT application.
For Luxembourg, the database only covers the Supplementary Protection Certificates.
Syntax and structure of the Legal Status field /ACT
Example of command line to look for Patents alive, Grants in Europe OR in US:
STATE/ACT=ALIVE P STATUS/ACT=GRANTED P ((PC/ACT=EP OR CC/ACT=EP) OR (PC/ACT=US OR CC/ACT=US))
State and status information are part of the ACT index, thus /ACT is used in search request.
The paragraph operator P is used to specify that all the criteria must be present in the same paragraph. In /ACT, a paragraph contains all the data about an event.
Patent offices or countries are also part of the ACT index. You have two possibilities to search for countries; either PC/ACT which is country of publication or CC/ACT which is a designated state in PCT or EP applications.
The Alive part of the query is not mandatory, as the status Granted is part of the Alive statuses. You can reduce to a simply:
in order to combine easily with other criteria
More examples in our technical factsheet here