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1.  Do I need to do a patent search before I apply?

A search of issued patents is recommended to be sure that someone else has not already patented the idea. Even if you invented it on your own, someone somewhere may already have the same invention. You cannot assume your invention has never been patented even if you have not seen it on the market. Collections of patents and patent-related materials may be examined at Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries (PTDL). You may find a list of PTDL's online. The Patent Collection at the Free Library of Philadelphia is a Patent and Trademark Depository Library.



Source: Basic Facts About Patents -- USPTO
2.  Can I perform a patent search online?

The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office Web site has the information needed to perform an online patent search under the Guidance, Tools & Manuals section. There you will find the U.S. Patent Classification (USPC) Index and the Manual of Patent Classification. Access to the full-text and images of all issued patents is available on the search page. If you prefer to perform the search using print resources, the Free Library's Patent Collection has the materials you need.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark homepage

3.  Are there guides available that will help me file my patent application?
The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has the following online guides to help you file your patent application: .

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office homepage
4.  Can I file a trademark application online?
The Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) allows you to fill out an application form and submit it electronically.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office homepage
5.  How much does it cost to get a patent?

The cost for a patent varies by type of patent, whether the applicant is a small entity (individual inventor, nonprofit organization, or a small business concern) or a corporation, and several other factors. For a utility patent, the basic filing fee, the issue fee, and the maintenance fees during the patent term would total approximately $4,000 for a small entity. Charges for design and plant patents are slightly lower. Fees are subject to change in October of each year. A current list of fees is available online from the PTO.



Source: Basic Facts About Patents
6.  How much does it cost to get a Trademark?

The USPTO has published a list of fees in the Federal Register . You may also view a current list of fees online from the USPTO homepage.



Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office Trademark FAQ
7.  What can I do if I have a patent question that is not answered here?
The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has a Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ) file that will answer any additional questions you have concerning the patent process.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office homepage
8.  What can I do if I have a trademark question that is not answered here?
You may access the Trademark Frequently Asked Questions file (FAQ) of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. It will answer any additional questions you may have concerning trademarks.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office homepage
9.  Where can I find trademark forms?
You can access trademark forms, plus information about applying for a trademark, on the How do I file a Trademark Application? page of the U.S. Patent & Trademark site. You can file electronically; the forms can be downloaded, filled out and mailed; or you can contact the Trademark Assistance Center at 1-800-786-9199 for a paper application.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office Trademark FAQ
10.  Does the Patent and Trademark Office have a homepage on the Internet?
The Patent & Trademark Office homepage is http://www.uspto.gov .

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office homepage
11.  Do I need to hire a lawyer to apply for a patent?
The patent application process is complex and the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) does not assist in the preparation of application papers. While hiring a lawyer is not required, the PTO strongly advises prospective applicants to engage the services of a patent attorney or agent. The PTO maintains a file of approximately 21,000 attorneys and agents registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. This list is available online from the PTO.

Source: Basic Facts About Patents
12.  Do I need an attorney to file a trademark registration?

Although it may be desirable to employ an attorney who is familiar with trademark matters, it is not required. You may access the trademark forms, plus information about applying for a trademark, by clicking Basic Facts About Registering a Trademark . The forms may be downloaded, filled out and mailed in.Or, by clicking PrinTEAS , you can fill out, validate and print trademark and service mark applications via the PTO web site.

Many applicants find it beneficial to search a mark (to see if there are any registered, pending, or previously used marks) before filing a trademark application. You can search our trademark databaseon the World-Wide Web at. http://www.uspto.gov/tmdb/index.html .

Word marks (marks consisting only of words) may be searched at one of the over 70 Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries (PTDLs) located throughout the United States. For a listing of these locations, please click here PTDL .

You must actually go to the library itself and perform the search yourself. However, the Patent and Trademark Depository Librarians are extremely helpful in getting you started. Searches can also be performed at the Patent and Trademark Office at 2900 Crystal Drive, 2nd Floor, Arlington, Virginia. If you need to locate an attorney specializing in trademark law, local bar associations and the Yellow Pages usually have attorney listings broken down by specialties.



Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office Trademark FAQ
13.  What is a patent?

A patent is granted by the Government to an inventor "to Exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States." Some persons occasionally confuse patents, copyrights and trademarks. Although there may be some resemblance in the rights of these three kinds of intellectual property, they are different and serve different purposes. Methods of doing business, a mere idea or suggestion, or printed matter cannot be patented.



Source: Basic Facts About Patents
14.  What are the differences among Utility, Design and Plant patents?
  • Utility patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or compositions of matter, or any new useful improvement thereof.
  • Design patents may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture.
  • Plant patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant.


Source: Basic Facts About Patents
15.  How long does patent protection last?

Utility and plant patents are granted for a term which begins on the date of the grant and ends 20 years from the date the patent application was first filed. Design patents are granted for a term of 14 years from the date of the grant. A patent holder loses exclusive rights to the invention when the term expires or when periodic maintenance fees are not paid.



Source: Basic facts about Patents
16.  Where can I find patent publications that will be helpful to me?
The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has several online guides with basic information and application assistance. The Free Library's Patent Collection has a selection of circulating and reference titles to help you perform a patent search, create an application, and market and license your invention.

Source: Basic Facts About Patents
17.  Do I need to register my trademark?
No. You can establish rights in a mark based on legitimate use of the mark. However, federal registration has advantages, such as:
  • Constructive notice nationwide of the trademark owner's claim;
  • Evidence of ownership of the trademark;
  • Jurisdiction of federal courts may be invoked;
  • Registration can be used as a basis for obtaining registration in foreign countries;
  • Registration may be filed with U.S. Customs Service to prevent importation of infringing foreign goods.


Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office Web site
18.  Where can I get information about registering a trademark in Pennsylvania?
The Pennsylvania Corporation Bureau has compiled online information about registering a trademark in Pennsylvania, including the forms. To view the information please click here .

Source: State of Pennsylvania Corporation Bureau
19.  Who owns the patent rights?

Patents are granted only to the true inventor, who may sell all or part of his/her interest in the patent application or patent to anyone by a properly worded assignment. Only the true inventor may apply for a patent with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.



Source: Basic Facts About Patents
20.  Does the U.S.Patent & Trademark Office have free searchable online patent databases?
Yes, the US Patent & Trademark Office site has full-text and image databases of patents issued since 1790 and patent applications. TIFF software is needed to view the patent images but the "How to Access and View Full-Page Images" link on the site tells you how to get the software for free.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office homepage
21.  Can I get assistance in conducting a patent search?
Librarians in the Patent Collection can show you the resources available and get you started with your search. But in general, the Patent staff cannot do searches for you, make subjective decisions, or provide legal advice. If need be, you can consult with a registered patent attorney or agent. You can view a list of attorneys and agents registered to practice before the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office online .

Source: Free Library Patent Librarian and University of Washington Patent FAQ
22.  Does the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office have free searchable trademark databases?
Yes, the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) is available online to perform trademark and servicemark searches. Click on "SEARCH Trademarks" in the center section of the Trademarks site.

Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office homepage
23.  What is a Trademark specimen?

A specimen is a real-world example of how the mark is actually used on the goods or in the offer of services. Labels, tags, or containers for the goods are considered to be acceptable specimens of use for a trademark. For a service mark, specimens may be advertising such as magazine advertisements or brochures. Actual specimens, rather than facsimiles, are preferred. However, if the actual specimens are bulky, or larger than 8½" x 11", then the applicant must submit facsimiles, (e.g., photographs or good photocopies) of the specimens. Facsimiles may not exceed 8½" x 11". THREE SPECIMENS ARE REQUIRED FOR EACH CLASS OF GOODS OR SERVICES SPECIFIED IN THE APPLICATION. The three specimens may be identical.



Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office Trademark FAQ
24.  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 to both trademarks and service marks whether they are word marks or other types of marks.
  • Normally a mark for goods appears on the product or its packaging, while a service mark appears in advertising for the services.
  • A trademark is different from a patent or copyright. A patent protects an invention, while a copyright protects an original artistic or literary work. For copyright information call the Library of Congress at (202) 707-3000.


  • Source: University of Texas @ Austin Engineering Library
    25.  Can I find a trademark searching tutorial

    The University of Texas at Austin Engineering Library has prepared a Trademark searching tutorial. To access the tutorial please click here .



    Source: University of Texas at Austin Engineering Library