Failed to obtain license: Invalid activation key format

An error similar to “Failed to obtain license: Invalid activation key format” is received when attempting to activate a product license, though the activation key/serial number has been entered exactly as it appears in the purchase email.

Probable Cause

The incorrect licensing utility is being used to validate the activation key/serial number.


As some product releases introduced new licensing technologies, the format of ActivePDF product activation keys/serial numbers and licensing utilities used in activation can vary depending on the product version. Refer to the list below for the activation key/serial number format and licensing utility used by each ActivePDF product version.

Note: In the example activation keys and serial numbers below:

represents an alphabet character
represents a numeric character

Product Version

Licensing Utility

Activation Key/Serial Number Format


ActivePDF License Manager


3.8.x, Toolkit 4.0.x

ActivePDF License Administrator


Toolkit 4.1.1-4.2.4

ActivePDF License Administrator



ActivePDF License Manager 2009


2013 and later

ActivePDF License Manager 2013