lots of misinformation on this board. An applicant pays a fee to publish a patent. The patent is published after approval. Publishing a patent means the claims are approved.
Step 1, Applicant - Has your invention already been patented?
Search the Patent Full-Text and Full-Page Image Databases
If already patented, end of process
If not already patented, continue to Step 2
Step 2, Applicant - What type of Application are you filing?
Design Patent (ornamental characteristics)
Plant Patent (new variety of asexually reproduced plant)
Utility Patent (most common) (useful process, machine, article of manufacture, composition of matter)
Step 3, Applicant - Determine Filing Strategy
Need international protection?
File in U.S.? - continue to Step 4
Step 4, Applicant - Which type of Utility Patent Application to file?
Step 5, Applicant - Consider expedited examination
Accelerated Examination Program
First Action Interview
Patent Prosecution Highway
Step 6, Applicant - Who Should File?
File yourself (Pro Se)
Use a Registered Attorney or Agent (Recommended)
Step 7, Applicant - Prepare for electronic filing
Determine Application processing fees
Apply for a Customer Number and Digital Certificate
Step 8, Applicant - Apply for Patent using Electronic Filing System as a Registered e-Filer (Recommended)
About EFS Web
Step 9, USPTO - USPTO examines application
Check Application Status
Yes, go to Step 12
No, continue to Step 10
Step 10, Applicant - Applicant files replies requests for reconsideration, and appeals as necessary
Step 11, USPTO - If objections and rejection of the examiner are overcome, USPTO sends Notice of Allowance and Fee(s) due
Step 12, Applicant - Applicant pays the issue fee and the publication fee
USPTO Grants Patent
Step 13, Applicant - Maintenance fees due 3 1/2, 7 1/2, and 11 1/2 years after patent granted
doc.. Patents can only be published once approved and are the end result of the process you've outlined.. Patent applications (not a patent) are published 18mo from date of filing the application with the patent office. Simply query the USPTO search box with the term "patent application publication" and you will get uspto.gov pages outlining the requirement, by statue, to publish the application. Thus the prurisol application if filed in Jan 2012 will soon be published and become a matter of public record.