A World of Patent Information for Entrepreneurs

How to use Public PAIR to Look Up Patent Applications

This video goes over the process for using the USPTO’s Public PAIR service to view application statuses and get file histories.

Public PAIR can be accessed through the USPTO’s Electronic Business Center portal.

As I mentioned in the video, PAIR is very useful if you have a published pending patent application you want to keep track of.   It’s a good way to keep tabs on things, even if you’re working with a practitioner you know and trust.

Public and Private PAIR

In addition to the Public PAIR system, the Patent Office has a Private PAIR system that allows registered practitioners and other responsible parties to view their own applications regardless of publication status.  So anything a practitioner files with the PTO, as long as it’s associated with his or her PAIR account, is immediately viewable in Private PAIR.  Private PAIR also provides an estimation of when an application will be processed. However, these estimations can be wildly inaccurate.

PAIR and PCT Applications

If you’re interested in getting file histories for PCT applications, you should use the retrieval system in at the World Intellectual Property website.   This is because the USPTO doesn’t maintain an ongoing record of PCT applications.