What is a Bates number?


Bates numbers are a system of sequential numbers on legal documents. They are used to keep track of individual pages of documents by giving each a unique identifier that can be referenced.

The term refers to the original process of Bates stamping first devised by Edwin G. Bates in 1891. The numbers were originally stamped manually, but the process is now also done electronically because the use of digital files has become more common. Printed labels are also now more commonly used in place of the traditional stamps. Bates numbering systems can also be found in medical and business records.

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What Are Bates Numbers?
Bates numbers refer to a set of sequential numbers stamped on documents -- particularly in the legal and business fields -- as a means of keeping track of and identifying individual pages. The name is derived from the "Bates Stamp," a machine invented in... More »
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