• How long will I be able to access my previously submitted requests?

    Users will be able to access previously submitted requests for up to 90 days. 

  • How long will I be able to access my saved requests?

    Saved requests will be saved for seven calendar days and then will be deleted from the system.

  • On the Power of Attorney Address page there is a list of attorneys but the address information is blank. Why?

    Power of Attorney in an application can either be assigned by customer number or by a list of registration numbers.  If POA is designated to a list of registration numbers  instead of a customer number, there will be no customer number address information displayed. 

  • Why is the Power of Attorney Address blank?

    If there is no power of attorney assigned to a given application, the Power of Attorney Address page will not display any information.

  • Why is the Maintenance Fee Address blank?

    If a maintenance fee address has not been assigned to the application the address information will be blank.  If no fee address is assigned upon issuance, the correspondence address will be used for maintenance fee purposes.

  • Can all application types use the update address function in Private PAIR?

    Address change requests for the following application types cannot be submitted through Private PAIR:

    • PCT Applications
    • Reexamination Proceedings
    • Supplemental Examination Proceedings
  • I changed the correspondence address of my application but it's not showing up when I do a customer number search.  Why?

    Although the correspondence address of the application is updated in real-time, the application will not appear in the customer number application search until the following day.  You will be able to search by individual application number the same day and see the updated address.

  • As an independent inventor, why do I not have the option to change the address of my application?

    At this time, we cannot verify independent inventorship based on inventor name alone.

  • How does Private PAIR verify that the user has permission to change the address of an application?

    The Private PAIR system compares the registration number that is tied to the user's PKI certificate to the registration numbers that are listed as having power of attorney in our internal database.  If the registration number is listed as having power of attorney, the system will accept and process the address change request.  If power of attorney cannot be verified, the system will not accept or process the request.

  • How many applications can be listed for Update Address?

    Up to 20 applications can be listed to update the correspondence address and the maintenance fee address.

  • How do I change the address of my application?

    Found under the “PAIR Administration” menu, users will now have the ability to update an application's correspondence and or maintenance fee address information. Users will be able to enter the desired customer number and up to 20 application numbers. For more information, please refer to the Update Application Address Quick Start Guide.   

  • I just filed an application with a statement claiming Small or Micro entity status but PAIR shows the entity status as Regular Undiscounted. Do I need to submit an entity status change request?

    No.  All applications are initially set to Regular Undiscounted entity status (BIG. under the PAIR Transaction History) by default until the application completes formalities review.  When this occurs, the entity status will be set to the desired status provided all filing requirements have been met.

  • Can I change the entity status of my PCT application?

    At this time, PCT applications are not available for Private PAIR entity status changes.

  • Why is the update button next to the entity status not available?

    In order to have permission to change the entity status of an application, the PKI certificate of the Private PAIR user must be associated to the customer number that is assigned to the correspondence address of the application.  Only then will the 'Update' hyperlink be available.

  • How do I update the entity status of my application in Private PAIR?

    Upon searching for an application in Private PAIR, you will find an 'Update' hyperlink on the Application Data tab next to the application's current entity status.  Select 'Update' and complete the request form.  For more information, please refer to the Change Entity Status Quick Start Guide.   


  • Can anyone change the entity status of an application?

    No.  In order to have permission to change the entity status of an application, the PKI certificate of the Private PAIR user must be associated to the customer number that is assigned to the correspondence address of the application.  Only then will the 'Update' hyperlink be available.

  • As a registered attorney who is representing an inventor, I wish to maintain the correspondence address of the application but I want to assign the fee address for maintenance fee purposes to the inventor so that notices, receipts, and other communications will be directed to the inventor.  How can I accomplish this?

    Create the customer number using the maintenance fee address details but do not associate any registration numbers to the new customer number.  Now access Update Application Address under the PAIR Adminstration menu. Enter the application number and/or patent number, select only the Maintenance Fee Address checkbox, then Submit. 

  • How can states be added for countries outside of US, CA and GB?

    The state can be added in the same field as the city separated by a comma.

  • Do I need to take additional steps to associate my new customer number to my PKI certificate?

    No. The system will automatically add the new customer number to the PKI certificate of the requestor and any attorneys/agents that were associated to the new customer number.

  • How many registration numbers can I add to my new customer number?

    As part of the new customer number requests, users can associate up to 100 registration numbers.  Additional registration numbers can be added under View Customer Number Details.

  • How do I enroll my customer number into the e-Office Action Program?

    There are two ways to enroll a customer number into the e-Office Action program.

    1. e-Office Action enrollment has been incorporated into the Private PAIR Create New Customer Number process.  As part of the online new customer number form, users can select to receive outgoing correspondence notification via email.  Upon selecting this option, no other steps are needed.  
    2. The process to enroll an existing customer number into e-Office Action has not changed.  From the PAIR Administration menu, users can select 'View Customer Number Details' and update the outgoing correspondence selection by submitting this request form.
  • How do I make changes to an existing customer number?

    View Customer Number Details (Private PAIR) requires the user to have a USPTO-issued PKI digital Certificate and a valid Customer Number. You may view and request changes for the customer correspondence address and all practitioners related to a specific customer number under the PAIR Administration section. The Request Data Changes for Customer Number online form allows changes to Customer Number Address, addition of individuals, or deletion of individuals from the Customer Number.

  • How do I create a new customer number in Private PAIR?

    Found under the “PAIR Administration” menu, users will now have the ability to create a new customer number. Users will be able to enter address information, choose the preferred method of outgoing correspondence (Mail, e-Mail) and registered practitioners will be able to associate additional attorneys or agents to the customer number. For more information, please refer to the Create New Customer Number Quick Start Guide linked below.  

  • Can I access the WIPO publication through PAIR?

    Yes. Once the international design application has been published by WIPO, the Published Documents tab will become available in PAIR and users will be able to link to WIPO’s Hague Express database and view the WIPO publication and associated records.

  • What is an International Registration Publication Date?

    The International Registration Publication Date is the date WIPO published the international design application.

  • What is an International Registration Number?

    An international design application satisfying the requirements under the Hague Agreement for international registration will be assigned an international registration number by WIPO, which begins with the series code “DM/nnnnnn”. Thereafter, the international design application will be published by WIPO.

  • How do I search for an International Design application?

    International design applications received by the USPTO are assigned a 35-series application number (“35/nnn,nnn”). PAIR users can search for a 35-series application by using the “Application Number” search found under the “Search for Application” section in PAIR. In addition, PAIR users can search for a 35-series application corresponding to a published international design application designating the United States by the international registration number using the “International Design Registration Number” search found under the “Search for Application” section in PAIR.

  • What is the Hague Agreement?

    The Hague Agreement refers to the Geneva Act of the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs.  The Hague Agreement is an international registration system which facilitates protection of industrial designs in member countries and intergovernmental organizations (also referred to as “Contracting Parties”) by means of a single international design application filed either directly with the International Bureau (IB) of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) or indirectly through the applicant’s Contracting Party.

    Information concerning the Hague Agreement, including geographic coverage and a guide for users, is available at WIPO’s Web site http://www.wipo.int/hague/en/

  • What is e-Office Action? 

    The e-Office Action program is a USPTO initiative available through Private PAIR. The e-Office Action program is designed to notify applicants, via e-mail, that new Office communication is available for viewing and downloading in Private PAIR. Applicants who opt-in to the program will receive a daily e-mail notification that will replace the daily POSTAL MAILED PAPER DELIVERY of Office communication.

    Please Note: The e-Office Action program is based on applications associated to a Customer Number. Applicants with multiple Customer Numbers must opt-in each Customer Number to receive separate e-mail notifications.

  • What application types are included in the program?

    The program includes provisional applications and non-provisional applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 111, including utility, plant, design, and reissue applications and national stage applications under 35 U.S.C. 371. However, the following applications and proceedings are not included in the program: international applications under 35 U.S.C. 363, reexamination proceedings, and interference proceedings.

  • How is e-Office Action different from the current paper delivery of Office communication?

    USPTO currently mails Office actions and all other communications to applicants. Applicants electing to participate in the e-Office Action program will receive daily e-mail notifications at their designated e-mail addresses from the USPTO that Office communication is available for secure viewing and downloading in Private PAIR. Opting into the program means that the USPTO will discontinue mailing participating applicants paper copies of Office communication. Applicants participating in the e-Office Action program will rely solely on e-mail notifications and the Office communication that is electronically available in Private PAIR rather than paper copies of communication send through the mail.

  • What are the key benefits of participating in the e-Office Action program?
    • Minimizes the risk of delayed or lost Office communication sent by mail
    • e-Mail notification expedites the availability of Office communication up to three days faster than communication sent by postal mail
    • Eliminates receipt of paper copies thus reducing paper communication processing errors and docketing time
  • Does e-Office Action program change the policy for communication via the Internet?

    By registering for the e-Office Action program, participant is authorizing the Office to send e-mail notifications of Office communications entered by the participating Office business units in the applications associated with the Customer Number. The e-Office Action program does not, otherwise, change the policy for communication via the Internet set forth in the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP) § 502.03. The e-mail notification is simply an automated e-mail sent by the Office. It is not an e-mail sent by the examiner. The program does not alter the Office policy prohibiting an applicant or examiner from engaging in improper e-mail correspondence.

  • Who may participate?

    Effective on June 29, 2009, any registered attorney or agent of record, and pro se inventor who is a named inventor, in a patent application associated with a Customer Number through which Private PAIR is accessed, may participate in the e-Office Action program. To access Private PAIR, the participant must have a Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) certificate linked to the participant’s Customer Number.

  • What are the steps I must take to participate in the e-Office Action Program?

    A few steps make it simple and easy to begin participating in the USPTO’s e-Office Action program.

    • Log-in to Private PAIR and select View Customer Number Details from the menu list. This will take you to the Details for Customer Number screen so you can review current Customer Number details.
    • Next, select the ‘Request Customer Data Change(s)’ button near the bottom of the web page to enter the Edit Customer Details screen.
    • In the heading section on the Edit Customer Details screen, select: Receive Correspondence Notification via e-mail.
    • Finally, enter up to a maximum of three e-mail addresses where the notifications will be sent, preview your changes, then submit your change request to the USPTO.
    • After completing this process, PAIR will send a test email to each modified or new e-mail address.
  • When can I expect the first e-mail notification after I elect to participate in the e-Office Action program?

    The first e-mail notification of Office communication will be generally delivered no earlier than two business days after switching to e-Office Action program. However, this is dependent on the volume of Office communication you receive for applications associated to the Customer Number.

  • Will the Office communication documents be attached to the e-mail notification?

    No. The actual Office communication documents can be accessed via Private PAIR.

  • Can I opt out of the program anytime after I elect to participate?

    Yes. Participants in the e-Office Action program can easily opt-out of the program at anytime. From the Details for Customer Number page, participants must select from the menu items: Receive Correspondence via Postal Mail, then review changes, and submit your changes to the USPTO. Please note that switching repeatedly between electronic and paper communication within a calendar day may result in notification delays. Also, opting out of the program will not stop the distribution of courtesy postcards for any unviewed communication for which an e-mail notification was sent. Should you elect to return to paper communication, it is recommended that one e-mail address remain assigned to the Customer Number in order to deliver e-mail notifications still in process.

  • How often will I receive e-mail notifications?

    Participants will receive an e-mail notification daily for each Customer Number, including weekends, by 8:00 a.m. Eastern Time. An e-mail notification is sent only when there is new Office communication that day for applications associated with the participant’s Customer Number. Once you are opted in, any Office action currently in process will continue to be mailed in a paper format.

  • What information is contained in an e-Office Action e-mail notification?

    An e-mail notification provides comprehensive information regarding the new Office communication. The information in the e-mail notification includes application number(s), Image File Wrapper (IFW) Document Code, mail room date, the attorney docket number, as well as your correspondence address and associated Customer Number. Basically, you will know exactly what you are being notified for prior to accessing the actual communication in Private PAIR. (Please refer to the e-Office Action Computer Based Training module for additional details and to view a sample e-mail notification).

  • How do I view the new Office communication once I have been notified?

    There are three methods to access new Office communication in IFW via Private PAIR. The first method is to search by individual application number then select the IFW tab to access the file wrapper. The second method is by Customer Number via the Outgoing Correspondence search.  The optimal method is by Customer Number via the View e-Office Action Notifications.

  • What is the new View e-Office Action Notifications search?

    View e-Office Action Notifications is a new search query created specifically for e-Office Action Participants.  Only customer numbers enrolled in e-notification will be listed in this new search.  Users will be able to search using a new calendar function within the past 90 days for a specific date or date range.

  • What is the difference between View Outgoing Correspondence and View e-Office Action Notifications?
    • View Outgoing Correspondence displays all new outgoing correspondence for applications associated to customer numbers linked to the user’s PKI digital certificate regardless if the notification was delivered by postal mail or electronic notification.  This intermixing of correspondence can make identifying, viewing, printing or saving electronically notified correspondence challenging.  
    • The View e-Office Action Notifications query will only display new outgoing correspondence for applications associated to customer numbers linked to the user’s PKI digital certification that are enrolled in the e-notification program.  Now that the electronically notified correspondence has been identified, users can easily view, print or save new correspondence using a few quick steps.
  • How will this benefit me as a user?

    e-Office Action participants enjoy the benefit of being notified electronically but found downloading and viewing new correspondence a burden.  When an e-Office Action program user receives their daily email, they can now search for that specific day, by customer number, and the displayed results will match the list of applications and documents in that day’s email.  User's can then download by application number or select all and download all correspondence, by customer number, for that day using a few simple clicks.

  • When I download or view new correspondence using View e-Office Action Notifications search, will the “Earliest Image View Date” and “Viewed By” columns be automatically entered?

    Yes, the “Earliest Image View Date” will display the date that the new correspondence was first viewed or downloaded. The “Viewed By” column will display the PKI certificate holder’s name used to view or download the new correspondence the first time.

  • I have multiple customer numbers enrolled in e-Office Action. Why is there not a “Select All” in the customer number drop-down list?

    At this time, e-notification download capability is limited to a single customer number at a time.  

  • What if I did not receive an e-notification today or suspect that I did not receive a notification in the past, can I contact the Electronic Business Center?

    You can contact the EBC or you can access any day within the past 90 days using View e-Office Action Notifications and search for new electronic correspondence.  If there are no results for that day and customer number, then no e-notification was sent.

  • When I attempt to select the View e-Office Action Notifications search, the radio button is inactive.

    You must have 1 or more customer numbers enrolled into e-Office Action.  Once a customer number is enrolled in the program, the radio button will become active and that customer number will then display in the drop-down list.  You can enroll in the e-Office Action program by selecting the View Customer Number Details option under PAIR Administration.

  • What happens if I forget to view my Office communication?

    As a courtesy, the USPTO will mail a reminder postcard to the applicant if new communication has not been accessed in Private PAIR within seven calendar days after the sending date of e-mail notification. Please note that the postcard is sent only for communications that require an applicant’s response such as a Final Rejection, Non-Final Rejection or Notice of Allowance and Allowability.

  • How many e-mail addresses can I associate to e-Office Action?

    The e-Office Action program requires at least one e-mail address. Up to a maximum of three valid e-mail addresses can be assigned to receive e-mail notifications. For example, these e-mail addresses may be an individual’s e-mail address, a general mailbox, or a docketing department’s e-mail address.

  • Which USPTO business units participate in the e-Office Action program?

    Participants will receive e-mail notifications for any communications prepared by the following participating business units: Technology Centers, the Office of Patent Application Processing (formerly Office of Initial Patent Examination (OIPE)), Office of Data Management (Pre-Grant Publications and Office of Publications), Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences (BPAI) for ex parte appeals of rejections, Office of Petitions, and Office of Licensing & Review.

  • Which business units in the USPTO do not participate in the e-Office Action program?

    Since several areas of the Office have independent mailing processes, participants will continue to receive paper mailings for communications prepared by certain business units including (but not limited to): the PCT Operations Division – International Branch, BPAI for interference proceedings, Central Reexamination Unit (CRU), Office of Enrollment and Discipline, and Office of the Solicitor.

  • Can I view an e-mail history of e-mail notifications?  

    Yes. Specific e-Office Action related events with corresponding date are available in the Transaction History tab in Private PAIR. The Transaction Description events are self explanatory and are labeled as “Email Notification,” “Electronic Review,” and if applicable “Mail Post Card.” In addition, an OA.EMAIL document is placed in the file wrapper of the application notified that day. The OA.EMAIL document is a truncated version of the daily e-mail listing details of only that specific application number’s new communication.

  • What should I do if I do not get notified or get notified late via an e-Office Action e-mail notification?

    Please refer to sections 10 and 12 of the OG notice

  • How do I gain access to Private 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; and
    • have a digital PKI certificate.

    Instructions on how to apply for a Customer Number and digital PKI certificate can be found on the Patent EBC Web site.

  • How do I associate my existing patent applications to my Customer Number?

    You will need to submit a Customer Number Upload Spreadsheet to associate your current patent applications to your Customer Number. Please go to the Patent EBC Web site and follow the instructions within Step 1 under the heading "Associate Existing Patent Applications to a Customer Number".

  • If I utilize an e-mail spam filter, what configuration setting must be performed to allow the e-mail notification?

    The USPTO.GOV domain must be listed in the ‘allow’ or ‘white’ list.

    Additional spam filter configurations are:

    • The subject name of the notification: Private PAIR Correspondence Notification for Customer Number XXXXX, where XXXXX refers to your Customer Number
    • The ‘From’ field of the e-mail is PAIR_eOfficeAction@uspto.gov (link sends e-mail). Please do not reply to this email address
  • 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 the Patent Maintenance Fees Storefront 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