For the first time, anyone with access to the Internet can track the status of a U.S. public patent application as it moves through the approval process.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- For the first time, anyone with access to the Internet can track the status of a U.S. public patent application as it moves through the approval process.

PDF files of official applications -- including patent examiners' reasons for decisions -- can be viewed, downloaded and printed using the Public PAIR system on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office's Web site.

The USPTO announced that new applications will be added to the database as they become eligible for publication 18 months after filing. Those applications covered by confidentiality laws are not available through the system.

Users can access the system at www.uspto.gov.

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