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Welcome to the National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum

In 2009, the National Inventors Hall of Fame moved from Akron, Ohio to the United States Patent and Trademark campus in Alexandria, Virginia and became part of the USPTO Museum. The new venue features interactive exhibits, a high definition video theatre and a portrait gallery. In the gallery historical and living figures come to life and talk about the history of invention and the USPTO. There is also a gift shop.

National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum Hours

The museum is closed for renovation until May 2014. The museum store will remain open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The store will be closed on Sundays, Mondays, and federal holidays.

Visiting the National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum

The National Inventors Hall of Fame and Museum is located in the atrium of the United States Patent and Trademark Office's Madison Building, 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, Va., and is easily accessible from the King Street and Eisenhower Avenue Metro stations.

Please check our locations page to obtain information about local mass transportation systems, to view a larger area map, and to obtain driving directions.

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Tour Information

School and group tours are welcome at the museum. Please contact tours@uspto.gov or the Office of the Chief Communications Officer at 571-272-8400 at least two weeks ahead of time to schedule a tour.

Information packets about patents and trademarks may be requested from the USPTO Contact Center (UCC).

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What is Intellectual Property?

It is imagination made real. It is the ownership of dream, an idea, an improvement, an emotion that we can touch, see, hear, and feel. It is an asset just like your home, your car, or your bank account.
Just like other kinds of property, intellectual property needs to be protected from unauthorized use. There are four ways to protect different types of intellectual property:

PATENTS provide rights for up to 20 years for inventions in three broad categories:

  • Utility patents protect useful processes, machines, articles of manufacture, and compositions of matter. Some examples: fiber optics, computer hardware, medications.
  • Design patents guard the unauthorized use of new, original, and ornamental designs for articles of manufacture. The look of an athletic shoe, a bicycle helmet, the Star Wars characters are all protected by design patents.
  • Plant patents are the way we protect invented or discovered, asexually reproduced plant varieties. Hybrid tea roses, Silver Queen corn, Better Boy tomatoes are all types of plant patents.

TRADEMARKS protect words, names, symbols, sounds, or colors that distinguish goods and services. Trademarks, unlike patents, can be renewed forever as long as they are being used in business. The roar of the MGM lion, the pink of the Owens-Corning insulation, and the shape of a Coca-Cola bottle are familiar trademarks.

COPYRIGHTS protect works of authorship, such as writings, music, and works of art that have been tangibly expressed. The Library of Congress registers copyrights which last the life of the author plus 50 years. Gone With The Wind (the book and the film), Beatles recordings, and video games are all works that are copyrighted.

TRADE SECRETS are information that companies keep secret to give them an advantage over their competitors. The formula for Coca-Cola is one of the most famous trade secrets.

If you are an intellectual property owner, you should protect your rights. If you are a user, you should respect them. It is just as wrong to steal intellectual property as it is to break into a home, steal a car, or rob a bank.

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Last Modified: 2/28/2014 5:08:04 PM