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 Do US only (unpublished) patents eventually become published at some point in the process?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.
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.