Statutory Invention Registration

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In the United States, a Statutory Invention Registration (SIR) is a registered invention published by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) at the request of the applicant or assignee. An SIR does not afford the inventor the legal protection of a patent, and merely serves as a defensive publication, preventing others from obtaining a patent on the invention. In fact, the inventor must waive all rights to a patent on the invention when a Statutory Invention Registration is published.

Certain conditions must be met before the USPTO will publish a patent application as an SIR:[1]

  • The application must disclose the invention in sufficient detail that another person of ordinary skill in the art can make and use the invention without undue experimentation (i.e. the application meets the requirements of 35 USC 112)
  • The application complies with the requirements for printing, as set forth in regulations of the Director of the patent office
  • The applicant waives the right to receive a patent on the invention within such period as may be prescribed by the Director
  • The applicant pays application, publication, and other processing fees established by the Director.

Statutory Invention Registrations are often requested by inventors who do not desire or no longer believe their invention is patentable. Requesting that an SIR be published ensures no one is able to obtain a future patent for the same invention. US Statutory Invention Registrations are published with the letter H preceding the publication number. Below is an image of the front page of a U.S. Statutory Invention Registration from 1985.

The top of the front page of a Statutory Invention Registration.

From April 1968 to May 1985, defensive publications produced by the USPTO were known as United States Defensive Publications. These Defensive Publications were denoted by the letter T preceding the publication number.[2] In May 1985, the Defensive Publication Program was replaced by the current Statutory Invention Registration Program. The image below shows the front page of a United States Defensive Publication from 1980.

The top of the front page of a Defensive Publication.

More recently, with the passing of the American Inventors Protection Act in 1999, most patent applications filed in the US are published 18 months after they are filed. These published patent applications serve a similar purpose to a statutory invention registration, and therefore SIRs are not as common as they once were. Once an application is published, an inventor can simply let their application go abandoned in order to give up their right to a patent and dedicate the invention to the public. The image below shows the front page of a US Patent Application Publication from 2004.

The top of the front page of a US Patent Application Publication

Other Defensive Publications

IBM Technical Disclosure Bulletin (TDB) The IBM Technical Disclosure Bulletin was a defensive publication produced by IBM from 1958 to 1998.[3]The publication contained inventions developed by IBM for which IBM did not wish to seek a patent, but wanted to submit to the public domain so that no other entity could rightfully receive a patent for the same invention. The IBM TDB is searched and often cited by patent examiners around the world.

Research Disclosure Research Disclosure is a monthly periodical and searchable online database containing international defensive disclosures published by Kenneth Mason Publications Ltd. in England since 1960. Subscription cost to the journal is approximately $200/yr.


  1. "1101 Request for Statutory Invention Registration." USPTO website, Accessed on November 14, 2008.
  2. "711.06 Abstracts, Abbreviatures, and Defensive Publications." USPTO website, Accessed on November 14, 2008.
  3. "Technical disclosures for patents." IBM website, Accessed on November 14, 2008.

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