In this edition, we have compiled the Kind Codes that categorize patent documents in the IP5 offices. Because patent documents in many intellectual property offices retain the same identifying number throughout the patenting process, the documents are given a letter, known as a Kind Code, immediately after the identifying number to indicate where the document is in the patenting process. The Kind Code helps to distinguish the kind of patent document (e.g., issued patent, patent application publication, plant patent, design patent, utility model), the level of publication (e.g., first publication, republication, corrected publication), and whether a patent has undergone post-issuance review (e.g., reexamination, opposition). A common thread among the Kind Codes of most of the IP5 offices is that the letter "A" generally represents a published patent application and the letter "B" generally represents a granted patent, with small variations among the different offices.
Because of the new post-grant proceedings introduced in the USPTO following the America Invents Act
(AIA) of 2011, new Kind Codes were added to designate patents that have undergone a post-grant proceeding.
The JPO used to have a more complicated Kind Code system, but it has been simplified to a large extent to follow the WIPO standards, as shown in the table below.
SIPO simplified its Kind Codes in April 2010 to generally follow the WIPO standard. The current SIPO Kind Codes are listed below:
The KIPO Kind Codes are an amalgam of the JPO and SIPO Kind Codes, as shown in the table below.