Those little numbers on the front page of a patent

A loyal reader of my blog asked what those little numbers mean on the front page of a patent.  Here are some examples:

click to see PDF
click to see PDF

What are these little numbers?  

These little numbers are “INID” codes, and they appear on the front page of patent documents published by many different patent offices around the world, in many different languages.  (“INID” is an acronym for “Internationally agreed Numbers for the Identification of (bibliographic) Data”.)  The idea is that “72” is intended to mean the same thing on the front page of a patent regardless of the language of the document, and regardless of which patent office published the document.  The alert reader will realize that “72” must mean “inventors”.

WIPO provides a very helpful document entitled Standard ST.9 which lists the INID codes and their meanings.

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