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In order to give proper credit in a scientific context, I'm trying to get the content of a document cited by the examiner in the process of examination of some US patents, both granted and expired.

Is there some archive of documents cited in a US patent examination context? If so, how can it be consulted? Or perhaps is there is a way to identify the examiner(s), then politely ask? I'm not an American citizen and not currently on US soil.

The particular document I'm after is a non-patent citation for US 5,848,159 listing it as:

RSA Moduli Should Have 3 Prime Factors* by Captain Nemo, No Date or Publication Given.

* Cited by examiner, …

and a non-patent citation for US 7,231,040 listing it as:

Nemo, RSA Moduli Should Have 3 Prime Factors, Aug. 1996. *

* Cited by examiner.

Update: this Google query finds a few more similar citations, including USRE40530E1 which has both title and date.


This was discussed in a long-ongoing question on crypto-SE.

Epilogue: I now have the reference thanks to George White's answer; and some detective work uncovered that Captain Nemo is Richard Schroeppel.

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    Do you have access to academic literature databases?
    – Eric S
    Mar 20, 2023 at 16:25
  • @Eric S: not that I know! But I once asked an academic librarian in France, who came empty-handed. See this for what I just attempted, which seems to have good hope of success.
    – fgrieu
    Mar 20, 2023 at 16:47
  • I searched in Google Scholar without success. Good luck with the USPTO.
    – Eric S
    Mar 20, 2023 at 17:18

1 Answer 1

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A few years ago publishers of academic journals complained to the USPTO that the whole process of patent prosecution involved much unauthorized copying of their products.

In response the USPTO developed and justified a policy regarding copying non-patent literature. Under their policy they give the applicant access to NPL that they cite against an application but do not put those documents in the publicly available on-line database of patent information. The linked policy says they do not put in on Public Pair. Since that was written Public Pair has been superseded by PatentCenter.

However they do also offer the public access to a certified copy the full record for a fee. They consider this permissible as “fair use”.

Therefore one option you have is to purchase the certified file wrapper of those cases.

It is not hard to find the identity of the examiners of granted patents since it is printed in the face of every issued patent. For an application you can look up the record in PatentCenter to find the examiner. Due to copyright and internal rules (I presume) they are unlikely to provide a copy.

You might consider trying to get the document from one of the inventors listed in the patent.

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    Just did both: ordered the "Certified patent file wrapper - on CDROM with electronic certification - Patent application # 09694416" (USD 60) and emailed the Primary Examiner, hoping he's still active; at least the email did not seem to bounce. Will make an answer when I get feedback (processing goal for the wrapper is quoted as 25 days). Thanks!
    – fgrieu
    Mar 20, 2023 at 16:41
  • I just received the "certified patent file wrapper" (which was hand-delivered to me in Paris as a CD-ROM even though I asked for email delivery, perhaps because it's 102MB). It does contain the paper I was looking for. It's reference X under non-patent documents in a Notice of References Cited by the examiner. My assessment is that it fully discloses everything in claims 1 and 2 of US 5,848,159, and claim 1 of US 7,231,040, which both mention that paper. I'm mildly puzzled. Combing the file to find any discussion about that reference, so far no success.
    – fgrieu
    Mar 28, 2023 at 12:15

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