Backdoor to USPTO's Public PAIR
by: Chris Mulkey, COO/Head of Research
It may be an understatement to say that using public PAIR is a headache. If it’s actually working at all, it’s usually aggravatingly slow to load results, especially during peak traffic times (e.g. Friday afternoon status checks). I don’t have a magic button for those times it’s not working altogether, for instance, the recent, week-long shut down that left thousands of patent professionals in a dark panic.
However, the below tip might give you alternative access to the few tidbits of information you’re seeking on an application or a granted patent at the USPTO.
For robots and non-robots alike, there’s a little-known portal called the PAIR Bulk Data site that allows you to bypass the Captcha barrier, and leads you to a more robust interface for looking up application/grant data.
I believe the Bulk Data site is primarily intended to provide download access to parts of the Public PAIR database on a daily basis (e.g. for 3rd party APIs). This is the site where data folks point their robots to grab the PAIR data in JSON or XML formats. More importantly for you, the USPTO hosts a public API of this data, and on the left-hand-side of the page, a simple interface of filters and query boxes allows one to query the PAIR system. This also lets you bypass (as far as I can tell) the vast majority of the web traffic that gets funneled through the USPTO choke valve.
Give it a try – you may find some relief from the headaches!
*Note: I don’t believe you can access transactional line items or file wrappers from the PAIR Bulk Data site, but it is great for quick status checks with publication and/or grant numbers.