What to Look for When Using US Public PAIR – An Infographic

Using Public PAIR Infographic

Public PAIR is the USPTO system for allowing any interested party to look at the prosecution history associated with a granted United States Patent or a published pre-grant application. The information in PAIR is also referred to as a file wrapper (or file history) associated with a particular patent application. Prior to 2002 (or thereabouts) this information could only be obtained by going to the Public Search Room at the USPTO or ordering a copy of the file history from a variety of different agencies. This was a reasonably expensive process since the various agencies (including the USPTO) charged for file wrappers by the page and there was traditionally no away of knowing how many pages the document might be in the first place or deciding that you really only wanted to see some of the more critical documents as opposed to the entire wrapper.

This all changed when the USPTO began making the file wrappers available electronically through Public PAIR. They have also started making this information available via an agreement with Google but more on that in a future post. With this information more readily available it is easy for anyone interested in a patent to look at the course it took during prosecution. Looking at this information in detail can also help analysts decide how valuable a patent could be based on a number of different criteria that can be investigated in Public PAIR.

To help new analysts familiarize themselves with US Public PAIR I put together the following infographic which looks at the various tabs in PAIR and points out the portions of the system that can be used to help identify the potential value of an individual US patent application.

Public PAIR is organized using a tab interface and the infographic goes through the following tabs in some detail:

  • Application Data
  • Continuity Data
  • Patent Term Adjustment
  • Display References
  • Image File Wrapper

By going through each of these sections an analyst can provide a prosecution level analysis of the potential value of a patent.

In a future post I will go through a specific patent using this method and point out some of the items to look for in a real example.

Download the full file by clicking below:


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