I received some claims from an American lawyer turned researcher that my research was impeding on several of their pending patents, along with some threats of legal pursuits. I was/am willing to collaborate, but I did/do not understand exactly what the problem was (my research seems related by easy to distinguish from the topics from the claimant, as we have quite distinct abilities), and when I asked to be sent the formal documents so that I could review them with a lawyer from my university, I was answered that those documents existed but could not be sent at the moment. Following (my own intuition and) the advice of some colleagues, I ignored the claims and threat.

Several months later, I still have no copy of such documents, but I have received formal notice that some claims had been filled against me regarding two of my research projects, and been proposed (one month later after the claimant saw my talks about such projects) a "deal" to the effect that the claimant would drop the claims in exchange of an agreement to avoid some research topics in the future. I will probably refuse such a "deal", especially when I strongly suspect a "bluff" when I do not know the base of such claims.

I am wondering if I could (legally!) find and access such "pending patent" given the name of their author? We have been trying to without success with a lawyer friend, but she is neither a specialist in patents nor in American law..

  • 1
    You should ask them to provide the patent applications they are claiming you infringe upon. Remember that the claims in applications are usually broader than the resulting patent.
    – Eric S
    Dec 22, 2022 at 20:17

2 Answers 2


Patent applications are published 18 months after they have been filed. After that you can find the pending application in the big patent databases. To look for a patent document with XXX as applicant you can use this link. In your case replace XXX for the potential applicant. https://worldwide.espacenet.com/patent/search?q=pa%20any%20%22XXX%22

In your case it could be interesting to find out whether research activity could be exempt: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Research_exemption#:~:text=According%20to%20this%20exemption%2C%20despite,the%20end%20of%20patent%20term.

This does not constitute legal advice.


Until an application is published it is not revealed by a patent office. If it is published and they are being coy about it you could search by inventor or assignee or subject matter. Google advanced patent is a useful tool. And by the way, patents have inventors not authors.

There is no ability to enforce a patent until it is issued. In an answer to a recent question


I explained provisional rights (Nothing to do with provisional applications) They only start when the patent is published and the hypothetical infringer is aware of the claims in the published application.

If it was published and they wanted to be able to get damages in the future under provisional rights they would do the opposite of keeping their documents from you. They would want to establish that you were aware of the wording of the pending claims.

  • It would be important to see the actual text of the documents containing the "[claims] received […] from [the] American lawyer." If this was a patent infringement notice for the provisional rights of the patent, the claim may not be frivolous on its fact, but them hiding the actual subject matter of the patent makes this highly unlikely. Without the strictly compliant infringement notice duly served on one, the suit is frivolous on its face, from a lawyer malicious even meriting a countersuit for malicious prosecution. Dec 25, 2022 at 3:14

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