IP Cases & Articles

Global Dossier patent histories access (file wrappers)

These file histories (or file wrappers) provide the most up-to-date information about a patent application's journey through the patenting process.

The Global Dossier service is a joint undertaking by the five largest patent offices in the world, collectively known as the IP5 offices [the European Patent Office (EPO), the Japan Patent Office (JPO), the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO), the State Intellectual Property Office of China (SIPO) and the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)], to advance global patent protection by offering free access to aggregated patent information and documents related to the search and examination activities of related patent applications during the global patenting process.

Being able to access global information pertaining to a family of patent applications is great news for users, and enhances transparency of the patent process in the IP5, particularly since the system provides automatic machine translation into English of original Chinese, Japanese and Korean file wrapper documents.

The Global Dossier service can be accessed via the European Patent Register, Espacenet (the European Patent Office's free online service for searching patents and patent applications worldwide) or direct via the USPTO's Global Dossier Public Access. You can follow our step-by-step guide to accessing the Global Dossier below.

User experience: EPO Global Dossier v USPTO Global Dossier Public Access

The European Patent Register's implementation of the Global Dossier provides a clearly set-out list of file wrapper documents, however, it is only possible to sort the list by date and click through documents one at a time (each one opening in a new window), although the user is able to select several documents to download simultaneously. Page numbers for the documents are available if sent from the source patent office.

By contrast the USPTO Global Dossier Public Access interface offers sorting of file wrapper documents by date and by title, making it easier to locate documents alphabetically. There is also a very good preview window when viewing each document, enabling users to scroll rapidly through documents without the need to click through to each page individually, or open several new windows on your desktop. There is also a 'collections' tab, where documents of interest can be placed ready to be downloaded and/or printed, making it easier for users to accumulate documents from different files as they go along. Unfortunately, the documents placed in the collections area only remain available during the active session in which they are 'collected'. The 'history' option functions in a similar way in that users can easily return to previously searched numbers within a session, as long as users do not close the browser window or navigate to another web page.

Espacenet takes you straight through to the file wrapper information for the IP5 patent member document via a Global Dossier icon in the bibliographic data view of the record, so by-passing the need to first search the European equivalent record (if one exists) and viewing the patent family.

Step-by-step guide to accessing the Global Dossier

1. Via the USPTO

Go to http://globaldossier.uspto.gov.

Screen grab of the USPTO global dossier

Select the office you wish to search in from the drop-down menu (US, CN, EP, KR or JP) and the type of document (application or publication, or for US documents, application, pre-grant publication or patent), followed by entering the number. Click the search button.

Your search results will display the file histories (file wrappers) for all the related applications and patents in the family from the different IP5 offices.

2. Via Espacenet

Go to http://worldwide.espacenet.com.

Espacenet global dossier access logon screen grab

In search results, in the bibliographic view, select the Global Dossier icon:

Espacenet global dossier user guide global dossier icon

Or for European patents, simply click through to the EP Register from the bibliographic view.

Your search results will be shown on a page entitled 'EPO Global Dossier'.

3. Via the European Patent Register

Go to https://register.epo.org.

European Patent Register global dossier

From the search results screen, select the 'Patent family' menu item in the left navigation. From the next screen, select the Global Dossier icon for each family member.

Espacenet global dossier user guide global dossier icon

Your search results will be shown on a page entitled 'EPO Global Dossier'.