I have some 3rd party prior art available for a handful of published patent applications, by a few large tech corporations. I am knowledgeable in that field so I believe they would bring down a few of their claims if taken in.

My concern is with any consequences to me or my (unrelated) business - do the applicants know who filed the 3rd party prior art? I got all the way to "unregistered filer" but it asked me for a first name/last name. What are the risks of my doing so?

For instance, I'm concerned that if they do know who filed the prior art, they'll dig up their huge patent portfolios and find some way to attack my business or even blacklist me personally. Am I overthinking things?

1 Answer 1


You can do it anonymously if you file through a registered patent practitioner (patent attorney or patent agent). They are identified but you are not.

This is from the USPTO FAQ on the AIA.

Question PS3460: Can a third-party submission be filed anonymously?

A real party in interest can remain anonymous by having someone else make the third-party submission for them, but the submitter cannot remain anonymous. The signature requirement of 37 CFR 1.4 for papers filed in a patent application, which require a person’s signature, apply to third-party submissions. Third-party submissions must be signed due to statements that are required to be made under 37 CFR 1.290(d)(5) and 37 CFR 1.290(g) (if applicable) by the party making the submission. Thus, the identity of the submitter (i.e., the party signing the submission) will be provided to the applicant upon entry of the compliant submission in the application file.

  • Good answer George. I guess the implied next part of his question remains, however. What liability (whether official or practical) do prior-art providers expose themselves too?
    – JSH
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 19:32
  • The only "official" issue I can think of would be a third party submitter trying to get more than three free documents submitted by going anonymously through a registered practitioner. The cost to use a patent attorney or agent would not end up making this logical anyway. From a practical point of view I assume the applicant would find it mildly annoying if they thought that someone was targeting them. If the art is not good it is just noise, if it is good then the applicant might realize they are better off having it surface early.
    – George White
    Commented Jan 21, 2014 at 19:54

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