Overview of Patent Number Formats

There are a great number of Intellectual Property offices worldwide, many with their own rules when it comes to how official application and publication numbers are formatted.  The aim of these articles is to bring together and, most importantly, demystify all of the standard recommendations for the presentation of patent numbers. 

The World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) provides a handbook on industrial property documentation as well as suggested standards for each component of the data, in addition to the presentation of the bibliographic components. However, in reality there many different styles adopted by different countries and regions, following the recommendations to a greater or (in some cases much) lesser extent.

The articles for application and publication number formatting (links below) cover these recommendations.  Before covering these, it is wise to look at the IP Offices, country by country, to understand the different numbering formats.  For some of the more popular territories (based on statistics for the top patent filing countries), a further explanation of their original and preferred formatting is given.

WIPO Standard Application Number Formatting and Variations of Application Number Formatting by Country

WIPO Standard ST.6 Publication Number Formatting and Variations of Publication Number Formatting by Country