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How can I submit prior art to the USPTO when I do not know the patent application number? There is a competitor that I know is trying to patent an invention that is partially based on my prior art. Do US only (unpublished) patents eventually become published at some point in the process? I do know that I can e-file 3rd party prior art, but one must know the application number or patent number.

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If an applicant declares at the time of filing that they have decided to only file in the U.S., then they can check a box on the application form requesting non-publication. In that case the time window for the AIA third party submissions will never open.

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