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The USPTO provides data on applications -- both granted and non-granted -- since 2001. Is there data available for pre-2001 US patent applications both granted and failed?

It appears that Google is crawling the USPTO PAIR site and possibly gathering applied-not-granted data, however, the oldest one is 1998. The PAIR data requires an application number for the search, so does not appear to easily provide a set of all possible patent grants. There is of course the 18 month confidentiality window that limits most recent applications. So, if a 1995 patent fails in the application process, then we are outside that window and might be able to see the original application.

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The direct answer is no. Before the American Inventors Protection Act of 1999 (AIPA) U.S. applications were not published and completely unavailable to the public unless and until they were issued as patents. See announcement. Before that an applicant could decide to abandon a patent that was allowed and close to issuing, almost at the last minute, and keep an application secret instead.

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George, I remember wanting to be a patent attorney back when I worked at IBM GPD San Jose in 1990. I visited a U.S. Patent Library somewhere in the Bay Area, just to see what it was like. The library was full of paper and non-digitized content. That was pre-AIPA of course. Were none of the items in that library applications, only patents? I scanned the URL you linked to, but that didn't make the answer clear to me. – Ellie Kesselman Mar 29 '13 at 7:07
Yes, in the US patent applications, as such, were not published. The rest of the world has long published applications 18 months from initial filing and treaties we entered into required us to do that also. It is still the case for design patent applications – George White Mar 29 '13 at 17:23

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