Monitoring patent applications

Monitor the progress of a patent application through search reports, open to the public inspection files, and caveats.


You can monitor a patent application to see how it is progressing, for example before deciding to make observations on it, by:

  • checking the search report
  • checking the parts of the application file that are open to public inspection (OPI)
  • applying for a caveat so that we tell you when something happens to the application.

Patent search reports

Search reports are available for all published UK applications.

It may include:

  • documents rated as X or Y against one or more of the applicant’s claims, means that during examination we will ask the applicant to change the claims
  • documents rated as A. These citations are background art, that is related reading, and are unlikely to affect the outcome of the examination and grant procedure
  • none found, means that no relevant documents were available when we searched the application
  • no search made, usually means that we consider the invention not patentable. We can object to the application because of this at examination, without using documents to show lack of novelty or inventiveness

You can get free access to search reports through Espacenet.

OPI files

You can see reports and correspondence between us and the applicant, or their attorney, on the application file of a published application.

You can check current application files by appointment and without charge at our Newport or London offices. Some documents from the file for the patent are available free of charge through our patent documentation and information service (Ipsum).


You can monitor the progress of someone else’s patent application or patent by registering a caveat with us.

A caveat is a warning, or notification, that some action has taken place on a patent application or patent. We do not tell the applicant or patent owner of the patent that a caveat is in place.

You can ask us to notify you of any of the following events or actions:

  • application published, or withdrawn, refused or deemed abandoned before publication
  • opposition filed against an application
  • application registered, or withdrawn, refused or abandoned after publication
  • patent not renewed
  • patent renewed or expired
  • patent surrendered or revoked
  • assignment application received
  • patent assigned, either partially or in full
  • anything else

When the action has taken place, we will write to tell you, and remove the caveat from the case.

Published 6 May 2014