the latest from USPTO leadership

Modernizing the management of patent applications with Patent Center

Blog by Kathi Vidal, Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and Director of the USPTO

As we recently announced, on August 1, we will replace the Public Patent Application Information Retrieval (PAIR) tool with the new user-friendly Patent Center. With a unified interface for electronically filing and managing patent applications, Patent Center is yet another step forward in our efforts to modernize USPTO systems and tools.

Patent Center provides independent inventors, registered patent attorneys and agents, and other patent professionals with real-time status information, application documents, and transaction history for pending patent applications.

If you are a Public PAIR user who is new to Patent Center, you will recognize many of the same features. For example, Patent Center still provides capabilities to access publicly available patent documents as a guest by application, patent, Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), publication, and/or international design registration numbers. Users are also able to sort documents and transaction history based on column headings.

Patent Center also offers improvements that will simplify how you file and manage your patent applications. Those improvements include:

1. Streamlined accounts in a single interface: Allows you to use existing USPTO.gov accounts from EFS-Web and Private PAIR in a single streamlined interface.

2. Increased uploading and downloading options: Using the drag and drop interface, you can upload multiple files at once. We’ve also added new options to download patent references, documents in DOCX and XML formats, and bibliographic information in XML format.

3. Simplified document submissions: You can submit the specification, claims, abstract, and drawings in a single DOCX document without having to manually separate sections.

4. Clear submission and payment receipts: By separately providing submission and payment receipts, you will be able to separately track the status of submitted documents and successful payments.

5. Integrated sponsorship management: Allows you to switch between sponsors without signing on and off.

These are just a few of the benefits Patent Center offers. To help familiarize you with Patent Center, we are hosting frequent training sessions which include opportunities to ask detailed questions. The Patent Center page of the USPTO website also has information on the latest releases and upcoming features. There, you’ll find a thorough Patent Center user guide and list of Patent Center frequently asked questions. Using the interactive simulations in Patent Center training mode, you can also safely practice filing DOCX and PDF documents without saving or submitting to USPTO systems.

Since its launch in 2017, Patent Center has been rigorously user-tested, and we have made many improvements based on public feedback, but we are never done listening. We welcome further feedback on Patent Center functionality by email at [email protected] and through our Ideascale page.

For other Patent Center questions, technical assistance, or troubleshooting, please contact the Patent Electronic Business Center (EBC) from 6 a.m. to midnight ET, Monday through Friday, by phone at 866-217-9197, or by email at [email protected]