USPTO PAIR Bulk Data API client


The USPTO PAIR Bulk Data (PBD) system contains bibliographic, published document and patent term extension data in Public PAIR from 1981 to present. There is also some data dating back to 1935.

Please also refer to the API documentation of this service at USPTO.


This software library implements a client to access the PBD API through the one-stop UsptoPairBulkDataClient class and also provides a respective command line program uspto-pbd.

Both can be used for searching and for downloading packages of bundled artefacts.


Search interface

Simple usage:

from uspto.pbd.client import UsptoPairBulkDataClient
client = UsptoPairBulkDataClient()

expression = 'firstNamedApplicant:(nasa)'
result     =

Advanced usage:

expression = 'patentTitle:(network AND security) AND appStatus_txt:(patented)'
filter     = 'appFilingDate:[2000-01-01T00:00:00Z TO 2005-12-31T23:59:59Z]'
result     =, filter=filter, sort='applId asc', start=0, rows=20)

The query syntax follows the standard Apache Solr search syntax, the JSON documents returned also follow the Solr response formats.

Please note the maximum number of records available per request is limited to 20, so you have to use the argument options start and rows to iterate through result pages.

Download interface

The download interface uses the search interface and adds automation for requesting and downloading package bundles for search results as outlined in the »API Tutorial« section of the API documentation. It has two different modes, synchronous and asynchronous.

Synchronous mode

Simple usage:

from uspto.pbd.client import UsptoPairBulkDataClient
client = UsptoPairBulkDataClient()

# Download document by document number
# Automatically guesses the document type (application, publication, patent) from the document number schema
# Will acquire both XML and JSON formats
result = client.download_document('PP28532')

Advanced usage:

# Explicitly request a document by application number, acquire XML format only
result = client.download_document(type='application', number='15431686', format='xml')

# Download published application by early publication number, acquire JSON format only
result = client.download_document(type='publication', number='2017/0293197', format='json')

# Download granted patent by patent number, acquire both XML and JSON formats
result = client.download_document(type='patent', number='PP28532', format=['xml', 'json'])

Asynchronous mode

The software can also operate asynchronously by using Celery as a task queue for scheduling downloads in the background. Please refer to the taskqueue documentation.

To make the background task scheduler operate it in a simple manner, just start Redis and Celery like that:

celery worker --app uspto.tasks --loglevel=info

See also: taskqueue documentation.

Simple usage:

from uspto.pbd.tasks import UsptoPairBulkDataDownloader
downloader = UsptoPairBulkDataDownloader()

# Start downloading single document
# Automatically guesses the document type
# Will acquire both XML and JSON formats'PP28532')

# Start downloading multiple documents, with document type autoguessing and dual format acquisition['PP28532', '2017/0293197'])

# Wait until results arrived
result = downloader.poll()

Advanced usage:

# Start downloading single document, explicitly requesting a patent document in XML format{'type': 'patent', 'number': 'PP28532', 'format': 'xml'})

# Start downloading multiple documents, each with both XML and JSON formats[{'type': 'publication', 'number': '2017/0293197'}, {'type': 'patent', 'number': 'PP28532'}])

# Save multiple documents to designated directory using the application identifier as filename
    [{'type': 'publication', 'number': '2017/0293197'}, {'type': 'patent', 'number': 'PP28532'}],
    options = {
        'save': True,
        'directory': '/var/spool/uspto',
        'overwrite': False,
        'use-application-id': True,


The UsptoPairBulkDataDocument class can be used to inquire information about the downloaded document:

from uspto.pbd.client import UsptoPairBulkDataClient
from uspto.pbd.document import UsptoPairBulkDataDocument
client = UsptoPairBulkDataClient()

# Download document
result = client.download_document('PP28532')

# Get document identifiers
document = UsptoPairBulkDataDocument(result)
{'patent': u'PP28532', 'application': u'14999644'}

Another example:

{'application': u'15431686', 'publication': u'US20170293197A1'}

Command line

$ uspto-pbd --help

  uspto-pbd get  <document-number> --format=xml [--type=publication] [--pretty] [--background] [--wait] [--debug]
  uspto-pbd save <document-number> --format=xml [--type=publication] [--pretty] [--directory=/var/spool/uspto] [--use-application-id] [--overwrite] [--background] [--wait] [--debug]
  uspto-pbd bulk get  --numberfile=numbers.txt --format=xml,json [--pretty] [--use-application-id] [--wait] [--debug]
  uspto-pbd bulk save --numberfile=numbers.txt --format=xml,json [--pretty] --directory=/var/spool/uspto [--use-application-id] [--overwrite] [--wait] [--debug]
  uspto-pbd search [<expression>] [--filter=filter] [--start=0] [--rows=20] [--download] [--format=xml,json] [--directory=/var/spool/uspto] [--debug]
  uspto-pbd info
  uspto-pbd --version
  uspto-pbd (-h | --help)

Document acquisition options:
  <document-number>         Document number, e.g. 2017/0293197, US20170293197A1, PP28532, 15431686.
                            Format depends on data source.
  --type=<type>             Document type, one of "publication", "application", "patent" or "auto".
                            When using "auto", the program tries to to guess the document number type
                            (application, publication, patent) from the document number itself.
  --format=<target>         Data format, one of "xml" or "json".
                            In bulk mode, it can also be "--type=xml,json".

Search options:
  <expression>              Search expression for generic querying.

                            - firstNamedApplicant:(nasa)
                            - patentTitle:(network AND security) AND appStatus_txt:(patented)
                            - appCls:(701) AND appStatus_txt:(patented)

  --filter=<filter>         Filter expression.

                            - appFilingDate:[2000-01-01T00:00:00Z TO 2005-12-31T23:59:59Z]

  --start=<start>           Start record. Default: 0
  --rows=<rows>             Number of records returned. Default: 20 (which is also the limit).

Output options:
  --pretty                  Pretty-print output data. This currently applies to "--format=json" only.

Save options:
  --directory=<directory>   Save downloaded documents to designated target directory.
  --use-application-id      Use the application identifier as filename.
  --overwrite               Overwrite already existing documents.

Background mode:
  --background              Run the download process in the background.
  --wait                    Wait for the background download job to finish.

Bulk options:
  --numberfile=<numberfile> Read document numbers from file. Implicitly uses "--background" mode.
                            Guess document number type by implicitly using "--type=auto".
                            Download multiple formats by specifying "--format=xml,json".

Miscellaneous options:
  --debug                   Enable debug messages
  --version                 Show version information
  -h --help                 Show this screen

Operation modes:

    "uspto-pbd  get"             Download one document and print the result to STDOUT.

    "uspto-pbd  save"            Download one document and save it to the target directory,
                                 defaulting to the current working directory.

    "uspto-pbd  bulk get"        Submit task for downloading multiple documents to the background job machinery.
                                 After finishing, print the results to STDOUT when using the "--wait" option.

    "uspto-pbd  bulk save"       Submit task for downloading multiple documents to the background job machinery.
                                 While doing so, progressively save documents to the target directory.
                                 After finishing, print the full file names to STDOUT when using the "--wait" option.


    # Display published application by publication number in XML format
    uspto-pbd get "2017/0293197" --type=publication --format=xml

    # ... same in JSON format, with pretty-printing
    uspto-pbd get "2017/0293197" --type=publication --format=json --pretty

    # Display published application by application number
    uspto-pbd get "15431686" --type=application --format=xml

    # Display granted patent by patent number
    uspto-pbd get "PP28532" --type=patent --format=xml

    # Display granted patent by automatically guessing document type
    uspto-pbd get "PP28532" --format=xml

    # Download granted patent by patent number and save to /var/spool/uspto/PP28532.pbd.xml
    uspto-pbd save "PP28532" --type=patent --format=xml --directory=/var/spool/uspto

Bulk example:

    # Download all documents from numbers.txt and save them /var/spool/uspto/$number.pbd.(xml|json)
    uspto-pbd bulk save --numberfile=numbers.txt --format=xml,json --pretty --directory=/var/spool/uspto --wait

Search examples:

    # Search for documents matching "applicant=nasa" and display polished JSON response
    uspto-pbd search 'firstNamedApplicant:(nasa)'

    # Search for documents matching "applicant=grohe" filed between 2010 and 2017
    uspto-pbd search 'firstNamedApplicant:(*grohe*)' --filter='appFilingDate:[2010-01-01T00:00:00Z TO 2017-12-31T23:59:59Z]'

    # Search for documents matching "applicant=nasa" and download zip archives containing bundles in XML and JSON formats
    uspto-pbd search 'firstNamedApplicant:(nasa)' --download --format=xml,json --directory=/tmp