Patent and Trademark Information Guide

Below you will find links to web sites that will help in providing information about patents and trademarks.

The Business & Science Department on the third floor of the Central library is ready to assist customers who have questions about patents and trademarks.

The United States Patent and Trademark Office 
This is the official U.S. government site for patent and trademark information.  Forms, publications, and other information are available on the web site.  Patent searching from the Welcome to the USPTO Web Patent Database is available here, as is Trademark searching, using the U.S. Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS).  A list of Patent Attorneys and Agents Registered to Practice Before the USPTO is also available. 

Mailing Address of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office:

General Information Services Division
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Crystal Plaza 3, Room 2C02
Washington, DC 20231

You may also call the Public Information Office phone number: (800) 786-9199 or (703) 308-4357 for assistance from Customer Service Representatives and/or access to the automated information message system.

The following options are available when calling:

Press 1 for general patent & trademark information and then select from the following options:

Press 1 for patent and trademark information.
Press 2 to locate an employee's telephone number.
Press 3 for patent search facility information.
Press 4 to order general information publications.

Press 2 for technical questions regarding the electronic business systems on the USPTO Internet site.

What is a patent?
What is a trademark?

Patent and trademarks are forms of intellectual property and exist to provide legal protection to their owners.

What is a patent?

A Patent is a grant of property right by the government to the inventor "to exclude others from making, using, or selling the invention."  Patents are granted for a term of 17 years (14 years for design patents) which may be extended only by a special act of Congress (except for certain pharmaceutical patents).  After expiration of the term, the patentee loses the right to the invention.

From "General Information," U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

What is a trademark?

A Trademark is either a word, phrase, symbol or design, or combination of words, phrases, symbols or designs, which identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods or services of one party from those of others.  A service mark is the same as a Trademark except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than the source of a product.

From "Basic Facts about Registering a Trademark," U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Patent Links

United States Patent and Trademark Office
Patent searching is available here on the Internet via the official U.S. Patent and Trademark Office web page.  When searched by keyword or field, this site provides access to abstracts and full text of patents from 1976 to present.  The full text patents do not include pictures but can be bought with the pictures from the patent and trademark office or downloaded by using the patent office's TIFF viewer.  This site allows both basic and advanced search methods, both of which are explained in a detailed help screen.
Google Patents Search Site
Another way to search for U.S. patents.  Google Patents allows searching from 1776 - present.  This site allows the full text pictures of the patents to be displayed without a specific viewer other than the default web browser. Unfortunately, this site does not include patent applications or international patents.

Peer to Patent Project: Community Patent Review
This website, sponsored by the patent office, allows the public to submit prior art relevant to pending patent applications.  A review and discussion of patent applications is also accepted.  The goal of the site is to improve the quality of issued patents by public participation.

Patent Tutorials

The University of Texas at Austin - Patent Searching Tutorial
This patent searching tutorial teaches the basics of patent searching in understandable terms.

The University of Maine Library - Patent and Trademark Depository
This website includes a nice tutorial for patent searching on the internet.  A unique aspect of the tutorial includes searching for patents before 1976.  Links for other patent websites are also included.

Patent Law

The Cornell University Law School
This website gives a good overview of patent law.  Included are recent patent decisions given by the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The National Inventor Fraud Center
This website helps protect inventors from unscrupulous marketing companies. It includes victim remedies, provides sample complaint letters, and how to contact an attorney.

Trademark Links

United States Patent and Trademark Office
Trademark searching is available on the Internet via the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office through its Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS).  A structured form search is available to do word searches, description of mark searches, and company name searches.  Full text trademarks with graphics, if provided in the trademark, are available.
Tennessee Secretary of State - Trademarks
This website give information on how to get a trademark throught the state of TN. Available on the site are trademark rules, forms, and a way to search to see if a trademark is registered.
Trademark Information
This website by Master-McNeil includes links to different trademark sites, including the international trademark classes and trademark issues in cyberspace.

Trademark Law

The Cornell University Law School
This website gives a good overview of trademark law.  Included are recent trademark decisions given by the U.S. Supreme Court and U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
All About Trademarks
Written by a lawyer/intellectual property specialist, this website lists trademark law, trademark associations, and international trademark attorneys.  Links for online trademark journals are also included.

Patent and Trademark Links

Tennessee Inventor's Association

A nonprofit organization chartered in the state of Tennessee.  This association is made up of inventors and others who are interested in the innovation process.  The site includes a newsletter and an inventor's guide.  Contact information is also available.

Inventors Association of Middle Tennessee

Includes related links to other inventor sites.

Patent Depository for Tennessee

The Stevenson Science and Engineering Library at Vanderbilt University in Nashville is the only United States Patent and Trademark Depository in the state of Tennessee.  The site includes information on the library's resources and links to other relevant patent sites.

Invention Dimension

This is a one stop information center for potential inventors.  It provides profiles of specific inventors.  It also provides a handbook to address questions concerning the protection of intellectual property and applying for patents.  Games, trivia, links and resources are all provided on this great site.
Invent Now
From the National Inventors Hall of Fame, this site gives more information on how to get an invention patented.  It also includes information on specific inventions and inventors.
University of Central Florida Patent and Trademark Depository Library
A nice website that gives simple links on how to search patents and trademarks.  It includes resources for inventors with links to other patent websites.  The trademark area includes how to research trademarks on the Internet.