Patent searching can be tough. The guide provides tips, tricks, and resources to be successful. To search for patents, it is helpful to know some background information about patents.
U.S. Constitution, Article 1, Section 8: "The Congress shall have the power to promote the progress of science and useful arts by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries."
Search Trivia: U.S. Patent Examiners spend about 12 hours investigating each application and use on average 38 databases.
Two things are often confused with patents but are very different.
Copyright: Form of protection provided to the authors of “original works of authorship” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, & certain other intellectual works, both published & unpublished.
Trademark: Word, name, symbol, or device that is used in trade with goods to indicate the source of the goods & to distinguish them from the goods of others.
What is patent in the United States?
Types of Patents
What can be patented in the U.S.?
Non-provisional application includes:
Provisional application includes:
Summary of USPTO Kinds Codes
(No longer used as of January 2, 2001.)
|A||Patent (Before 2001)||Replaced A1, A2...A9|
|P||Plant Patent (Before 2001)||Replaced P1, P2...P9|
|B1, B2, B3...B9||Reexamination Certificate (Before 2001)||Replaced by B1 or B2|
Reexamination Certification: Upon completion of a PTO reexamination proceeding, the Commissioner will issue and publish a certificate canceling any claim of the patent finally determined to be patentable, confirming any claim of the patent determined to be patentable, and incorporating in the patent any amended or new claim determined to be patentable. These certificates are the same for normal or reissue patents.
Summary of Worldwide Standard for Kind Codes
(Used in the U.S. as of January 2, 2001.)
|A1||Utility Patent Application||Published on or after January 2, 2001|
|A2||Second or subsequent publication|
|A9||Correction published Utility Patent Application|
|B1||Utility Patent Grant (no pre-grant publication)||Issued on or after January 2, 2001|
|B2||Utility Patent Grant (with pre-grant publication)||Issued on or after January 2, 2001.|
|C1, C2...C9||Reexamination Certificate||Issued on or after January 2, 2001. NOTE: "n" represents a value 1 through 9 denoting the publication level.|
|H||Statutory Invention Registration (SIR) Patent Document||Began with the December 3, 1985 issue.|
|P1||Plant Patent Application||Published on or after January 2, 2001|
|P2||Plant Patent Grant (no pre-grant publication)||Issued on or after January 2, 2001|
|P3||Plant Patent Grant (with pre-grant publication)||Issued on or after January 2, 2001|
|P4||Second or subsequent publication of a Plant Patent Application|
|P9||Correction publication of a Plant Patent Application|
Lastname, Initial. Initial. (year). U. S. Patent No. 123,456. Washington, DC: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.
In text citation:
U. S. Patent No. 123,456 (year)
(U. S. Patent No. 123,456, year)
Use last name, first name, and initials for each inventor. Year is year patent was published. Finally, identify an official source where patent can be retreived.
Role of United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO): Grants patents and trademarks. Offers IP protection and fosters respect of. Advises the president of the United States, the secretary of commerce, and U.S. government agencies on intellectual property (IP) policy. Works with international agencies and organizations. Provides education, training, and resources.