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The header of a patent contains information about what kind of patent it is, the patent number, who invented the device, and the patent issue date. This information can help you differentiate between a patent and a patent application, as a patent application’s header lacks a patent number and issue date, replacing them with publication numbers and publication dates respectively.
A patent application will be titled US Patent Application Publication, and have a publication number that begins with the year the application was published.
Patents will be titled US Patent, with patent numbers which will be some digits shorter than a publication number. If the patent number starts with a D then that patent is a design patent.
Patent applications will list the date they are published, while patents list the date in which they were issued (a Date of Patent).
Both patent applications and patents list who the primary inventor is, following up with “et al” if more people are credited.
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