Patent Application Information Retrieval Patent Application Information Retrieval

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

A. 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 For pending, unpublished application data, the Private PAIR system will compare the user provided Entrust/Direct Certificate and Customer Number to the Entrust/Direct TMCertificate and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.

Q. How will a 3rd party get information regarding an application that was identified in a published document?

A. After the first publication date, public users will be able to access application data and document images via Public PAIR. The Private PAIR system provides data and document images for pending applications to patent applicants and/or their designated representatives prior to publication, in addition to published applications and patents.

Q. Why did my Public PAIR session time-out (end)?

A. After 30 minutes of inactivity, your Public PAIR session will be closed. At 25 minutes of inactivity, an alert will display to give you the option to either extend your current session (OK button), or allow it to end after another 5 minutes of inactivity (Cancel button). If neither button is selected within the remaining 5 minutes, the Public PAIR session will automatically end, and may display the “This portlet is not available.” message. To start a new session, select a Search Method, enter a Number, and click the Submit button.

Q. How do I view or change the correspondence address and list of practitioners associated with my customer number?

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

Q. Does PAIR run with all Web Browser technologies?

A. PAIR is intended to run under existing technology and adhere to policies, procedures and guidelines issued by USPTO. USPTO policy currently requires a web browser compatibility at, or above, Netscape Navigator version 6.0 or Internet Explorer 6.0 SP1. USPTO does not endorse these products, however, these are the products that have been tested so far. If your browser does not meet, or exceed these de-facto standards, you may acquire these applications at:

Q. Does PAIR run with all computer platforms?

A. PAIR is intended to run under existing technology and adhere to policies, procedures and guidelines issued by USPTO. For PAIR, USPTO policy currently requires a computer platform compatibility at, or above, Windows 98, 2000, NT, or XP. USPTO does not endorse these products, however, these are the products that have been tested so far.

Q. Why are Alt-tab (mouse-over) messages not displayed using Netscape 6.2 and 7.0 browsers?

A. USPTO has tested Netscape 6.2 and 7.0 browsers and found that Alt-tag message text is not displayed when the user passes the mouse over screen images. Users dependent on Alt-tag text for special applications may not receive a display of message text when using these versions of Netscape .

Q. How can I retrieve information about reexamination proceedings?

A. Select the Search by Application Number option and insert the eight-digit control number into the “Enter Number” field.

Q. What software do I need on my computer to view and download Image File Wrapper images?

A. Both Public and Private PAIR provide Image File Wrapper documents in PDF format. You will need to install a PDF viewer, such as Adobe Acrobat, to view document images in the browser, and after download. Adobe Acrobat 5, or higher, is recommended; USPTO does not endorse this product, however, these are the versions that have been tested to date. For more information on PDF viewers please see:
Private PAIR users will need to unzip the downloaded PDF files, and may wish to use WinZip, or free software such as 7-Zip. 7-Zip is available at, and is compatible with Windows 98, 2000, NT, and XP. USPTO does not endorse these products, but has tested both for use with the current release of Private PAIR.

Q.Who do I contact for questions about IFW images viewed in PAIR?

A.Contact the Patent Electronic Business Center (EBC) for assistance with IFW images in PAIR (please see: ). The Patent EBC is a complete customer service center that supports all Patent e-business products and service applications, and can be reached at 703-305-3028 or toll free at 866-217-9197 between the hours of 6 a.m. and midnight Monday through Friday EST, or by e-mail at:

Q. How do I view or download Non-Patent Literature from PAIR?

A. Images of non-patent literature (NPL) cited in public patent application files are not available for either viewing or downloading through Public PAIR. Certified copies of the full contents of the patent application files, including NPL are available from the USPTO Office of Public Records. To order a copy of this document, click here (link to For questions regarding patent document copies available for order, contact the OPR Customer Service Line: (703) 308-9726 or (800) 972-6382 between 8:30 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. U.S. Eastern Standard Time.

Q. How do I print application document images from the Image File Wrapper?

A. Print document images from the downloaded PDF file. For Public PAIR users: Open the downloaded application file in a PDF viewer, such as Adobe Acrobat. Navigate to the document to be printed by clicking the document name in the indexed contents list (“Bookmarks”). For Private PAIR users: Unzip the downloaded PDF files using WinZip, or similar software such as 7-Zip ( , then o pen the desired image file in a PDF viewer.

Q. What software do I need on my computer to view and download references?

A. To successfully view and download cited US references for an application using Private PAIR's E-Patent Reference, you will first need to install Java™ Runtime Environment (JRE) 1.3.1 or higher (1.4.2 or higher recommended), Java Web Start 1.2 or higher (automatically installed with JRE v1.4 or higher), and Adobe Reader 4.0 or higher (5.0 or higher recommended). E-Patent Reference is compatible with Windows 98, NT, , 2000, and XP.

Q. How do I view and download references?

A. If the Private PAIR E-Patent Reference service is available for your application, the "Display References" option will appear in the Private PAIR dropdown list when viewing the search results for Application Number, Patent Number, or Publication Number. Select this option to view a list of electronic reference forms, sorted by Mail Date. In the "Form Type" column, click the desired reference form link. E-Patent Reference will launch and retrieve a list of cited US references available for download in PDF format.

Q. What is a "Certified Copy" when ordered from Public PAIR?

A. A certified copy is authenticated by the USPTO as being a true replication of official USPTO records. A certified copy includes selected records and a cover page with the certification information. The application “As-Filed” includes the original application documents. “File wrapper” copies include the complete prosecution history. Certified copies of the application as-filed are commonly used when filing abroad and claiming benefit of the U.S. application's filing date. Certified file wrapper copies are commonly used in judicial proceedings.

Q. What is the "Publication Review" option?

A. The "Publication Review" button appears in the Private PAIR drop-down list with Application or Publication Number search results for applications subject to publication under 35 USC 1.22(b). This option allows applicants to enter and submit Correction Requests to data shown on the Publication Review screen to match previously filed application papers. Additional information regarding valid change request types may be found by clicking the Change Request Instructions and Corrections That Are NOT Permittedlinks at the top of the Correction Request screen. The following information must be included in each request submission: description of correction requested; location of each correction in the official case record; point of contact name; and point of contact telephone number.
Reminder: customers must submit change requests prior to the 14th week before the projected publication date in order for the change to be considered for this publication. Paper submission of data change requests is the standard; PAIR is an alternative method of submission.

Q. What is a Kind Code?

A. Kind Codes" are the Standard ST.16 codes initiated by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) to distinguish the kind of patent document and the level of publication. For example, the Kind Code for the first patent application publication is "A1". For information on Kind Codes included on USPTO patent documents, please see: For detailed information on Standard ST.16, please see

Q. What do the arrows on the Patent Term History screen indicate?

A. The arrow(s) in the Patent Term History display the measuring period for both applicant's delays and administrative delays by the USPTO. The box in which the initial up-arrow is located signifies the starting point of the delay being measured. The box in which the number is located signifies the event which stops the measurement. The number represents the amount of days that either the applicant or the USPTO delayed in prosecution of the application. The column with the heading (PTO) days signifies that the delays in that column reflect administrative delays by the Office. The column APPL (Days) signifies delays that reduce the amount of PTA awarded in the PTO (days) column.