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Getting Started - New Users

The Patent Electronic Business Center (EBC) is the USPTO Patents support organization that provides customer support for patent application electronic filing and other e-commerce matters not related to substantive patent prosecution or legal issues.  These include but are not limited to customer submission and access issues as well as general assistance with the various e-Commerce systems.   Systems that are supported include EFS-Web, Public and Private PAIR.  The EBC also supports the PatentIn and Checker tools.  The EBC also issues, administers, and supports the use of customer numbers and digital certificates for the access and use of EFS-Web and Private PAIR.    The hours of operations of the EBC are Monday through Friday 6 a.m. – midnight (EST/EDT).  The EBC can be reached by telephone at 866-217-9197 (toll free) or 571-272-4100.  The EBC can be reached by email at

Customers seeking to access and use the USPTO’s patent e-Commerce systems may do as either non-registered or registered users.  Customers may obtain registered status by applying for a digital certificate for the access and use of EFS-Web and Private PAIR.  Registration provides for the ability to electronically save materials being created for submission and to file follow-on materials using EFS-Web.  A customer number and digital certificate is required for Private PAIR which allows customers to review the status of their unpublished submissions and to track their patent applications online.   

The following document, the EBC Welcome Wagon, provides a detailed overview of the services that the EBC provides to its customers. 

EBC Welcome Wagon (PDF)

To become a registered user of  USPTO's Electronic Filing System (EFS-Web) and Patent Application Information Retrieval (PAIR) system, several pieces of information must be collected to assure that you and only you have access to your data. This page describes the steps you must perform to help us connect you to your data.

1. Obtain a Customer Number

  •  Apply for a Customer Number

A Customer Number allows you to easily correlate all your filings and correspondence with a single mailing address, eliminating typographical errors or variations in addresses that can make it difficult to correspond with the USPTO. This Customer Number will also ensure that only you can access your patent application information. 

To get your unique Customer Number, please download and complete the 

Customer Number Request form [PDF] and fax it to the Electronic Business Center at 571-273-0177.

* If you are a registered attorney or patent agent, or a person granted limited recognition, then your registration number or limited recognition number must be associated with your Customer Number. This is accomplished by adding your registration number to the Customer Number Request form.

  •   Update a Customer Number

If you already have a Customer Number and you would like to update the information associated with that number, please download and complete the 

Customer Number Data Change form [PDF] and fax it to the Electronic Business Center at 571-273-0177

* This may be useful to attorneys changing firms or organizations that are reorganizing the management of a group of patents.

  •  Associate Existing Patent Applications to a Customer Number

If you do not have any applications on file with the USPTO, please skip to step 2. However, if you already have patent applications on file with the USPTO, you need to associate these applications with your Customer Number. 

To associate existing patent applications to a Customer Number, please download and complete the

Customer Number Upload Spreadsheet [MS Excel]

 This information can be sent on a diskette to: 

Mail Stop EBC Customer Number
Commissioner for Patents
P.O. Box 1450
Alexandria, VA 22313-1450

* To associate a PCT application in the International phase with a Customer Number for purposes of viewing the PCT application in Private PAIR, please download and complete the

Request to Update a PCT Application with a Customer Number form [MS Word] and fax it to the Electronic Business Center at 571-273-0177.

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2. Obtain a Digital Certificate

The USPTO provides a high level of security for e-Commerce users through a security architecture called Public Key Infrastructure (PKI). 

  •  Apply for a Digital Certificate

This information will be used to generate a certificate that will be used to uniquely identify you and allow secure access to your patent data.  To assure the security of your data, follow the policy described in the Subscriber Agreement.    

    PKI Subscriber Agreement (Feb2013) [PDF]

Now that you have obtained a Customer Number and read the Subscribers Agreement, you can download and complete the

    Certificate Action Form [PDF]

Have the Certificate Action Form notarized by a notary and mail the original form (no faxes or copies) to:

Mail Stop EBC Customer Number
Commissioner for Patents
P.O. Box 1450
Alexandria, VA 22313-1450

* Certificate Action Form Instructions [PDF]

  •  Obtaining the Access Codes

 After the Certificate Action Form has been processed and approved you will receive two codes:

1) Authorization Code and 2) Reference Number .

The Authorization Code will be sent via e-mail and the Reference Number by U.S. mail. In addition, for customers with U.S. residence only, the Patent EBC will attempt one phone call to deliver the Reference Number . The Reference Number will be given only if the requestor is reached, otherwise a message will be left that their Reference Number will be mailed and to contact the Patent EBC with any questions.

Once you have both codes, you will be able to access Private PAIR and take advantage of electronic filing via EFS-Web. For any customer who would like to receive their Reference Number before it arrives via U.S. mail, please contact the Patent EBC at 1-866-217-9197.

  •  Access Code Recovery

The life span of the Access Codes is 90 days, starting on the date of issuance. If your codes expire or have been lost, contact the Patent EBC at 1-866-217-9197 to request reactivation. The Authorization Code will be sent via e-mail.  The Reference Number will  be given to the requestor via telephone after the requestor calls the EBC.   International customers will receive their Reference Number in a separate e-mail from the Authorization Code.

  •  Digital Certificate Management

Use the Digital Certificate Management site to manage your digital certificate contact information, create a set of recovery codes and to perform self-recovery of damaged or lost digital certificates online.

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Last Modified: 2/12/2013 10:53:51 AM