• How do I get my PKI Certificate?

    Go to http://www.uspto.gov/ebc/registration_pair.html and read the Subscriber's Agreement, then download and complete the Certificate Action Form. Have the Certificate Action Form notarized and mail the original to the Patent EBC at

    Mail Stop EBC
    P. O. Box 1450
    Alexandria , VA 22313

  • What is a PKI Certificate?

    Public Key Infrastructure digital certificate provides the customer secure access to patent applications and related data. Provides confidentiality, access control, integrity, authenticity and non-repudiation of data. The USTO serves as the Certificate Authority and issues the digital certificates to our customers. It is required in order to use both Private PAIR and EFS.

    >> Go to the USPTO PKI Certificate Policy

  • How do I - view Outgoing Correspondence Notification(s)?

    View Outgoing Correspondence Notification(s) in Private PAIR requires the user have a USPTO issued PKI Certificate and a valid Customer Number. Expand menu for Search by Customer Number, then select View Outgoing Correspondence, and select search parameters.

    Results of View Outgoing Correspondence Notification(s): 

    A table displaying: 

    •Application Number 
    •Patent Number
    •Attorney Docket Number
    •Customer Number
    •Mailing Date
    •Image Date
    •Document Code
    •Document Description
    •Earliest Image View Date
    •Viewed By

    If a document image is available, the “Document Description" will be underlined and provide a link to view the correspondence corresponding image. 

  • How do I - view Maintenance Fees?

    Maintenance Fee data is available Monday - Friday from 5:30 AM to Midnight E.T. and Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays from 7:30 AM to 8:00 PM E.T. Information about maintenance fees may also be obtained through PAIR. Patentees and members of the public viewing this data should double check the information with the Maintenance Fee Division, before, for example, assuming that 'no fees to pay' means that all of the fees have been paid. Such a message may also appear if the period for payment of maintenance fee has expired and the patent has now expired.

    Maintenance Fees - Retrieve fees to pay provides information about unpaid maintenance fees and allows you to make your payment online by credit card, electronic funds transfer (EFT) or deposit account.

    Maintenance Fees - View payment windows provides information regarding maintenance fee due dates.

    Maintenance Statement - View ... year payment window provides information regarding maintenance fees previously paid for the payment year selected. When trying to view a statement, if the error message "no fees pending on finance" appears, the fee has not yet been paid. Use the Maintenance Fees - View payment windows search option to display the dates for the most recently due maintenance fee. If the most recent fee due has not been paid and the 'payment window closing date' has past, the patent is considered expired as of that 'closing date', with the exception of certain cases where a petition has been filed (recorded in the File History/Transaction History). If a petition has been filed and 'granted', the patent remains in tact but the maintenance fee statement will not be viewable because the fee was paid with the petition fee. Please refer to USPTO Office of Finance On-Line Shopping Page for further information.

  • How do I - search to determine if there is/was a reexamination for a patent?

    Retrieve the patent information from Public or Private PAIR by using the Patent Number search option. Then, select the "Continuity Data" tab or search option, and review the "Child Continuity Data." If a reexamination was requested for the patent or was ordered at the initiative of the USPTO, and is pending or concluded, then the reexamination proceeding(s) will be listed in the Child Continuity Data section and may be identified by the Control Number of the reexamination proceeding, which begins with "90" or "95", i.e., 95/000,000. Select the Control Number link to view information regarding the reexamination proceeding, such as the current status of the proceeding.

    Reexamination proceedings may also be searched directly in PAIR by using the Control Number search option.

    For additional information on reexamination proceedings, you may wish to review Patent Official Gazette Notices, or contact the Office of Patent Legal Administration, Central Reexamination Unit at (571) 272-7705.

  • I tried to create another profile with my PKI codes but I got a message stating that they were corrupted, what do I do?

    You can only use the PKI codes one time to create a profile. Once that profile is successfully created, the codes cannot be used again.

    If the profile is corrupted, a recovery for the certificate will need to be completed and a new set of codes issued by the security office. Submit a signed Certificate Action Form to the Patent EBC via fax at 571-273-0177 or by postal mail to the address on the form and they will request that the USPTO security office issue a new set of PKI codes to you. Once you receive the reference number and authorization code go to Digital Certificate Management to recover the profile.

  • I forgot my password; can I get a new one?

    Yes, if you have previously registered with the Digital Certificate Management System you can use a self-recovery code, otherwise the security office must recover the certificate and issue a new set of codes. Submit a signed Certificate Action Form to the Patent EBC via fax at 571-273-0177 or by postal mail and they will request that the USPTO security office issue a new set of PKI codes to you.

  • I only received one of my codes, what do I do ?

    Contact the Patent EBC (toll free) 866-217-9197 and we will have the missing code reissued to you.

  • When I try to create my profile, I get an error message stating that my codes are expired, what do I do?

    Contact the Patent EBC (toll free) 1-866-217-9197 and we will have a new set of codes issued to you or go to Digital Certificate Management.

  • My computer's hard drive, with my profile, was deleted. How do I get another profile?

    If you didn't have the profile backed-up on a another drive or registered for self-recovery codes, submit a signed Certificate Action Form to the Patent EBC via fax at 571-273-0177 or by postal mail and they will request that the USPTO security office issue a new set of PKI codes to you. The profile can be recovered/recreated at the Digital Certificate Management


  • How do I copy my PKI digital certificate to another computer?

    The digital certificate can be transferred from one computer to another by CD, USB drive, or email.

    To move the digital certificate by CD or USB drive:

    1.Go to the location where the .epf file is stored on the first computer and copy the .epf file that contains the profile name onto a CD or USB drive. 
    2.Take the CD or USB drive to the second computer and go to the location of your choice on that computer. 
    3.Paste the files from the disk in the chosen location on the second computer. 

    REMINDER: You may designate more than one employee to use your USPTO certificates under your direction and control in accordance with this subscriber agreement and the rules and policies of the USPTO including the EFS-Web Legal Framework.

  • How do I create my PKI digital certificate?

    PLEASE NOTE: If at any point during the following steps a window pops up asking you whether you wish to run an Entrust application or trust a Digital Certificate, click on "Run" or "Yes". 
    Go to https://dcm.uspto.gov/UserRegistration/do/Home 

    Click on "New User"
    Enter codes where requested
    Click "Create Security Store"

    On the next page:

    Click the "Save As..." button under "Entrust Desktop Security Store Name"
    A windows directory will appear
    Select folder where you want the profile to be saved (somewhere you can locate the file easily such as your desktop)
    Then in the "filename" box, name your file (i.e. johndoe.epf) - make sure to leave the .epf at the end of the file name
    Click the "Save" button

    On current page:

    Enter a password twice following rules located in box on right side of screen (once all rules are followed, green check marks will appear)
    Click "Create Security Store"

    Once it has processed it will state "profile created successfully".

  • Do I have to have my Certificate Action Form notarized?

    Yes! If you are requesting a new certificate the Certificate Action Form needs to be notarized.

  • How long does it take to get the PKI Certificate?

    Once the original notarized Certificate Action Form is received at the Patent EBC, it will take about 2 weeks for an authorization code and reference number to be issued.

  • Is there an expiration date on my PKI Certificate codes?

    Yes! The reference number and authorization codes will expire 60 days from the date they are issued. You must create the PKI Certificate on the Digital Certificate Management page during this 60 day period. Contact the Patent EBC at (toll free) 1-866-217-9197 if assistance is needed in setting up your profile.

  • Can I take my PKI Certificate with me to another firm?

    Yes. However, you must change the customer number that are associated with the digital certificate. If the new firm does not already have a Customer Number, they must get one in order for you to use the PKI certificate. The firm that you are moving FROM, must fill out a Customer Number Data Change form removing your registration number from their Customer Number, and the firm that you are moving TO must also fill out a Customer Number Data Change form, adding your registration number to their Customer Number.  These change requests can also be submitted through Private PAIR by an attorney who currently has access to the customer number.

  • Can a paralegal get a PKI Certificate?

    No. Only registered attorney/agents and Independent Inventors can apply for a PKI Certificate.

  • Does each attorney need to apply for his or her own PKI Certificate?

    Yes! Each attorney should have his or her own digital certificate.

  • Who issues User (Entrust/Direct) Certificates and how are they used?

    User Certificates are issued by the USPTO Certification Authority. The USPTO Certification Authority (CA) issues digital certificates that bind identity and other information to an electronic key used to encrypt and sign digital information. By issuing a certificate, the CA confirms the accuracy of the certificate information. The user's certificate is unique. No other certificate, from whatever source, may be used as a substitute. The user's unique certificate provides the means to identify and authenticate a USPTO customer. Additionally, it provides the means to set up, and conduct, fully encrypted sessions between the user and USPTO on confidential patent application matters. 

  • How do changes to my Customer Number data affect my PCT applications?

    The customer number associated with a PCT application will be used only for Private PAIR access and will not be used for the correspondence address.  Therefore any changes to the customer number will not affect the PCT application.

  • Are changes made to the Customer Number data processed automatically?

    Yes! All changes made to the Customer Number’s address and all Attorney disassociations as well as Attorney additions are processed automatically. 

  • How do I view or change the correspondence address and list of individuals associated with my customer number?

    From the Private PAIR search screen, select your customer number from the drop-down list below View Customer Number Details and click the Search button. 

    To submit a paper change request, click the "Request for Customer Number Data Change" link below the Customer Number Details screen to display and print PTO/SB/124A in PDF format. Use this paper form to mail or fax changes in the correspondence address or list of individuals associated with a Customer Number. Submit the completed form via fax to (703) 308-2840 or mail to: 

    Mail Stop EBC 
    P.O. Box 1450 
    Alexandria, VA   22313

    To submit an online change request, click the "Request Data Changes" button below the Customer Number Details screen. This returns the Request Data Changes for Customer Number online form for changes to Customer Number Address, addition of individuals, or deletion of individuals from the Customer Number. 

  • How do I associate my applications with my customer number?

    To associate existing patent applications to a Customer Number, you can complete and submit the Customer Number Upload Spreadsheet located at http://www.uspto.gov/patents/process/file/efs/guidance/register.jspDownload the Customer Number Update Template and after filling out the MS Excel spreadsheet, save it on a USB Memory Stick or CD and mail it to the Patent EBC at

    Mail Stop EBC
    P.O. Box 1450
    Alexandria VA 22313

    Another method to associate an application to a customer number is to submit the Change of Correspondence Address form (SB/122) located at http://www.uspto.gov/web/forms/sb0122_fill.pdf.  Unlike the Customer Number Upload Spreadsheet where multiple applications/patents can be listed, the Change of Correspondence Address form can be used to only associate a single application to a customer number.  Only the customer number should be indicated on the SB/122 form with physical address left blank.  Customer number associations using the SB/122 form are processed by the Applications Assistants Unit or a Technology Center. The EBC processes the automated Upload Spreadsheet. 

    Using the spreadsheet to change the correspondence address and/or maintenance fee address on applications is a legal record of change. This spreadsheet MUST be accompanied by a cover letter signed by someone who, for each application or patent listed on the attached spreadsheet, is either: (1) the Pro Se applicant [definition in new window] , or the Sole Inventor, where there is not registered Patent Attorney or Agent of Record, or (2) an Attorney or Agent of Record.

    Note, however, a practitioner is not necessarily of record in an application when the practitioner is associated with a customer number and the customer number is associated with an application. A practitioner is only of record in an application when the power of attorney is given to the practitioner or to a list of practitioners associated with a customer number (and the practitioner is associated with the customer number).

  • How do I register for PAIR?

    Becoming a registered e-filer is a two step process. The first step is to request a customer number by completing a Request for Customer Number form (SB/125) located at http://www.uspto.gov/web/forms/sb0125.pdf. The Request for Customer Number Form will either need to be faxed to the EBC at 571-273-0177 or submit it by mail. The EBC will process the customer number request within three business days. After you receive the customer number, the next step is to complete, notarize, and mail in the Certificate Action Form (PTO-2042) to the address on the top of the form. The Certificate Action form can be found at http://www.uspto.gov/ebc/documents/certificateactionform.pdf.  The PKI digital certificate is a small computer file that functions as a “digital identity” for a given user. Once the EBC receives the Certificate Action Form and security processes the request, an Authorization Code will be emailed to the email address on the Certificate Action Form and the Reference Number will be delivered by phone. These two codes together allow the user to create the digital certificate file from our Digital Certificate Management site at https://dcm.uspto.gov/UserRegistration/do/Home. This file will grant access to Private PAIR and EFS-Web as a registered e-filer.

  • How does PAIR verify that the person requesting the information is entitled to the information?

    Public PAIR provides access only to issued or published applications. For pending, unpublished application data, the Private PAIR system will compare the user provided Entrust/Direct Certificate and Customer Number definition in new window to the Entrust/Direct Certificate and Customer Number on file in the PAIR system. Only those users who have Entrust/Direct Certificate and Customer Numbers which match will be allowed access to the requested data.

  • What are my payment options when ordering a Certified copy of an Application as Filed or of the Image File Wrapper through Private PAIR??

    You may pay for your order by credit card (Visa, Master Card, American Express, or Discover), by USPTO deposit account, or by electronic fund transfer (EFT). For more information on these payment methods, visit the USPTO Office of Finance page - http://www.uspto.gov/about/offices/cfo/finance/index.jsp.  

  • Are Attorney Docket Number updates processed automatically?

    Yes, Attorney Docket Number updates are automatically processed.

  • What is the "Publication Review" option?

    The "Publication Review" button  appears in the Private PAIR and allows applicants to enter and submit Correction Requests to data shown on the Publication Review screen to match the data set forth in certain previously filed application papers. Correction Requests must be received earlier than fourteen (14) weeks prior to the projected publication date to be reflected in the patent application publication.  This screen cannot be used to submit Correction Requests in applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 371 (i.e., national stage applications).  This screen also cannot accept special characters, e.g., umlauts.  Additional information can be found here: http://www.uspto.gov/patents/process/status/private_pair/pub_review_instructions.jsp

  • Is the information I am viewing in PAIR current?

    Yes! The information in PAIR is real-time status information.

  • What type of applications can I view in PAIR?

    Public PAIR: provides access to public applications including: patents, published applications, and applications to which a patented or published application claims domestic priority. PCT applications that have not been published by WIPO and any applications that have not been released by the USPTO Licensing and Review Board will not be viewable in Public PAIR. Prosecution history and document images for Chapter II are not viewable in Public PAIR.

    Private PAIR: Any applications you associate with your Customer Number, including pending, non-published PCT applications (as of 16DEC2006), except any applications that have not been released by the USPTO Licensing and Review Board.

  • What is PAIR?

    PAIR is the Patent Application Information Retrieval system that displays information regarding patent application status. There is both a Public and Private side to PAIR. “Public PAIR” provides access to issued or published patent applications. To access Public PAIR, you need only have a patent, application, publication, or PCT number that you wish to search. “Private PAIR” provides secure real-time access to unpublished applications using digital certificates issued from the USPTO's Public Key Infrastructure. Private PAIR allows provides access to all application information that is available in Public PAIR. To access Private PAIR, you must:

    • - be a registered patent attorney/agent, an Independent Inventor, or a person granted limited recognition,
      - have a customer number,
      - have a digital PKI certificate to secure the transmission of the application to the USPTO

    >> see the Patent EBC - New Users for information on accessing Private PAIR