Patent and Trademark Resource Centers
Patent and Trademark Resource Centers (PTRCs) are a nationwide network of public, state and academic libraries that are designated to disseminate patent and trademark information and to support the diverse intellectual property needs of the public. Accessing the patent and trademark information at a PTRC with the help of a trained specialist, you may be able to determine if someone else has already patented your invention or obtained a federal registration for a trademark on goods or services. PTRCs also have access to PubWEST, an examiner based search system. These trained specialists may also help you with specific questions regarding the patent and trademark processes, but they will not provide legal advice. These libraries may contain collections of all types of patents issued in the US for at least the past twenty years (some PTRCs have US patents back to 1790). They also have facsimile images on CD of federal trademark registration certificates from 1870 to the present. Collections and hours vary so it is best to a call ahead of your visit for hours of operation, services, and fees.
Public Search Facility
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Public Search Facility located in Alexandria, VA provides public access to patent and trademark information in a variety of formats including on-line, microfilm, and print. The USPTO Public Search Facility is open Monday to Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Research assistance is offered between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Self-service access to all information and all facility equipment is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
For more information, visit the Public Search Facility Web page.