Legal status data is the information that is part of the patent document, provided by patent owners and patent office, which helps with learning the insights and value of a patent. Legal data contains all data related to legal events or actions as defined by the respective patent law and regulations of a particular jurisdiction. Understanding the structure of patent documents and data fields is the essential foundation of patent analytics.
Legal data generally has no standard taxonomy and varies with type of patent system. Patent database provides, namely, DOCDB and the INPADOC Legal Status file, respectively. DOCDB contains bibliographic data from over 100 patenting authorities around the world, while the INPADOC Legal Status file contains data from over 50 countries. Both files are produced and maintained by the European Patent Office (EPO).
Still, the primary sources of legal status data are patent gazettes/bulletins and patent registers. Each jurisdiction defines the publication of authoritative patent information and the respective authority in National (Patent) Gazettes and National Patent Registers.
Patent Gazettes or Bulletins are individual publications published as separate issues on specific dates for the purpose of informing the public about patent applications that have been filed or/and patents that have been granted (e.g. WIPO Standard ST.18). Once published the content of a particular issue of the gazette or bulletin is not updated.
Patent Registers serve the purpose of informing the public about the most recent legal or administrative status of a pending application or a granted patent, i.e., they reflect the recent legal events or actions that changed or maintained the legal status. A patent register allows submission and processing of requests regarding the legal status of national patent applications and/or granted patents. A register is meant to be any electronic or non-electronic facility or service that allows the public to retrieve either directly (e.g. via the internet) or indirectly (e.g. via written request or a physical visit to the premises of the IPO) up-to-date information on the legal status related to individual national patent applications or patents.