• How can I provide feedback or submit ideas?

    We are looking for your suggestions on ways we can improve. Please visit our Ideascale page to vote, comment, and share ideas about new tools and features as they become available.

    You may also send your feedback, ideas, and other inquiries via email to signonfeedback@uspto.gov.

  • How do I contact customer support?

    Please follow the steps below: 

    1. Dial 1-800-786-9199 (toll-free) | 571-272-1000 (local) | 1-800-877-8339 (TTY).
    2. Choose option #2 for patents.
    3. Choose option #5 to speak to an agent.
  • Where do I find XML format documentation for patent and trademark bulk data?

    Documentation for bulk patent and trademark data may be found at: http://beta.uspto.gov/learning-and-resources/xml-resources

    The documentation includes machine-readable Document Type Definitions (DTDs) and human-readable documentation for the XML formats used by an XML programmer wishing to extract information from the XML files.

  • What XML resources are available at the USPTO to process bulk data?

    Bulk data uses different versions of XML depending on the year of data publication. Links to older versions of the documentation may be found at http://www.uspto.gov/learning-and-resources/xml-resources/xml-resources-retrospective

    The USPTO generally does not update old files when it migrates to a new XML version, so users accessing data from different years may need to use multiple DTDs associated with the corresponding XML version to process the data.

  • Who do I contact for more bulk data information?

    Questions and suggestions can be directed to ipd@uspto.gov

  • How do I view bulk data?

    The bulk data can be viewed with an XML reader. A generic XML reader can extract the XML element structure. In order to perform useful automated processing with the documents, however, a program needs specific knowledge of the XML schema used, which the USPTO has documented.

    The concatenated XML documents in the ZIP files, which have file extension "XML," are not the same as standard XML files and therefore will not be immediately readable by an ordinary XML parser. Instead, the files must be broken into individual XML documents, by splitting them apart at the XML declarations and/or DOCTYPE declarations.

  • Are there any restrictions on using the bulk data products?

    There are no restrictions on the use of the data in these products, unless otherwise prohibited by law or specific agreement.

  • What is Extensible Markup Language (XML)?

    XML is a standard way of storing structured data. It is hierarchical and can be applied to many situations (in this case to patent grant and published application information). In general XML files are designed to be used by programmers with specialized tools. For background information, a good reference is the Wikipedia XML article.

  • How large are the bulk data products?

    Individual bulk data files generally range in size from a few Megabytes to several Gigabytes. Collections of data can be several Terabytes.

  • What types of patents are included in the bulk data products?

    Patent bulk data includes:

    • Design Patents
    • Plant Patents
    • Reexamination Certificates (available only in Patent Grant Image files)
    • Reissue Patents
    • Statutory Invention Registration (SIR) documents
    • Utility Patents
  • Why is there a fee for some bulk data products?

    The USPTO plans to eventually provide all bulk data products online at no charge. Most bulk data products are already available from the USPTO for no charge. A few bulk data products are available from USPTO for a fee, either because they are provided on physical media or because of bandwidth considerations. USPTO has made these products alternatively available online and at no charge from Reed Tech Patents or Reed Tech Trademarks.

  • How current are the bulk data products?

    Bulk data products are available on the date of publication.

  • How do I find bulk data products?

    Bulk data products are generally organized by type of intellectual property: patents or trademarks. Then they are organized by issue date or publication date.

    Patent data includes patent grants and patent application publications with image only, text, text and image, and bibliographic; and additional information such as patent assignments, maintenance fee events, etc.

    Trademark data includes application and registration images, application text, assignment text, and Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB) text.

    Download bulk data: https://eipweb.uspto.gov/soms/http://patents.reedtech.com, or http://trademarks.reedtech.com.

  • Do I need patent or trademark bulk data products?

    Most members of the public do not need patent and trademark bulk data products. Bulk data is likely to be used by researchers, commercial vendors, academics and consultants.

    To search for an individual patent or trademark, you can get that information without using bulk data. Find data in the Patent Full-Text Database or Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS)

  • Does the USPTO market, promote, or license inventions?

    No. The USPTO has no jurisdiction over matters relating to the promotion or utilization of patents or inventions, other than providing a public forum for complaints against invention promoters/promotion firms. The USPTO cannot act for or advise inventors concerning the business transactions or arrangements that are involved in the development and marketing of an invention. The USPTO will publish, at the request of a patent owner, a notice in the Official Gazette that the patent is available for licensing or sale. There is a fee for this service.

  • Do I need to hire a lawyer or agent?

    The patent application process is complex. The USPTO cannot assist in the preparation of patent application papers. If you are ready to apply for a patent, we strongly advise you contact a registered patent attorney or agent. Although the USPTO cannot recommend any particular attorney or agent, we do maintain a roster of patent attorneys and agents registered to practice before the USPTO. Only registered attorneys and agents may help others to obtain patents.

    If you are ready to apply to register your trademark, we strongly advise that you contact an attorney who is experienced in trademark prosecution. The USPTO does not maintain a roster of trademark attorneys. An attorney who is a member in good standing of a state bar association may prosecute your application for trademark registration. The USPTO cannot aid in the selection of an attorney and does not provide specific endorsements or recommendations of private attorneys.

  • How do I finance and/or market my invention?

    The USPTO does not provide assistance on financing or marketing your invention.

    Disclaimer
    We have provided links to these sites because they have information that may be of interest to our users. The USPTO does not necessarily endorse the views expressed or the facts presented on these sites. Further, the USPTO does not endorse any commercial products that may be advertised or available on these sites.

    The Small Business Administration (SBA) provides excellent information on starting, planning, marketing, obtaining venture capital and financing a small business. The SBA also provides training and counseling.

    List of Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)

  • What free assistance is available from USPTO?

    Free basic information on the patent and trademark system, forms, fees, products and services of the USPTO is available by calling the USPTO's toll-free line, 800-PTO-9199 or by calling 571-272-1000. An automated message system is available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day providing informational responses to frequently asked questions and the ability to order certain free documents. Customer service representatives are available to answer questions, send free materials or connect you with other offices of the USPTO from 8:30 AM - 8:00 PM ET, Monday-Friday excluding federal holidays. The customer service representatives can transfer your call to the Inventors Assistance Center or the Trademark Electronic Business Center for responses to practice and procedure questions. Much of this information is also available at the General Information section.

  • What is the role of the USPTO?

    The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) administers the patent and trademark laws as they relate to the granting of patents for utility inventions, designs and plants and the issuing of trademark registrations. The USPTO examines applications for patents to determine if the applicants are entitled to patents and grants the patents when they are so entitled. It examines applications for trademark registration to determine if the applicants are entitled to register their trademarks and issues trademark registrations. The USPTO publishes issued patents, approved trademark registrations and various publications concerning patents and trademarks; records assignments of patents and trademarks; and maintains search rooms and a national network of Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries for the use by the public to study issued patents, registered trademarks, and pending trademark applications and records relating to both patents and trademarks. It also supplies copies of records and other papers.

  • Do I need a patent, trademark, and/or a copyright?

    • Patents - (Utility, Design, or Plant) protect inventions and improvements to existing inventions. More information on patents .
    • Trademarks - are words, names, symbols, devices and/or use images which are applied to products or used in connection with goods or services to identify their source. More information on trademarks .
    • Copyrights - protect the expression of ideas in literary, artistic and musical works. More information on copyrights .
  • Does the USPTO determine trademark infringement?

    The USPTO examines trademark applications to determine if there is likelihood of confusion between the mark in the application and a previously registered trademark or another mark in a prior-pending application. If no conflict is found and all other statutory requirements are met, the examining attorney can approve the mark for publication. The USPTO has no powers of enforcement concerning the use of trademarks in the marketplace.

    Some contents linked to on this page require a plug-in for PDF file.

  • How do I do a federal trademark search?

    You may conduct a search free of charge on the USPTO Web site using the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) . You may also conduct a trademark search by visiting the Trademark Public Search Library, between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. at the Public Search Facility, Madison East, 1st Floor, 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, VA 22313. Use of the Public Search Library is free to the public. You may check on the status of an application or registration through the Trademark Applications and Registrations Retrieval (TARR) database. If you do not have access to the Internet, you can call the Trademark Assistance Center at 1-800-786-9199 or 1-571-272-9250 to check the status.

  • How much does it cost to apply for a trademark application?

    The filing fees for an application filed electronically through the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) are as follows:

    • $225 per class of goods or services for a TEAS Plus application that meets the requirements of 37 C.F.R.  §2.22;
    • $275 per class of goods or services for a TEAS Reduced Fee (TEAS RF) application that meets the requirements of 37 C.F.R. §2.23; or
    • $325 per class of goods or services for a TEAS Regular application, which does not have the additional requirements of a TEAS Plus or TEAS RF application.

    The fee for applications filed on paper is $375 per class of goods or services.

    If your application is filed based on a bona fide intent to use the mark in commerce, additional documents and fees will be required at a later time.

    We recommend that you file your application through TEAS , and pay the fee using a credit card, existing USPTO deposit account, or electronic funds transfer (EFT). If you file on paper, checks or money orders should be made payable to the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office and mailed to Commissioner for Trademarks, P.O. Box 1451, Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1451.

    PLEASE NOTE: Fees are subject to change and should therefore be verified before submission to the USPTO. You may obtain the current schedule of fees . To receive a hard copy of the fee schedule you may contact the USPTO Contact Center (UCC) at 1-800-786-9199

  • What do I need to include in my trademark application?

    • A completed application form submitted in hard copy or electronically as noted above.
    • The appropriate fee.
    • A drawing of the mark to be registered - this is true even if the mark is just an unstylized word.
    • Specimens of use of the mark if the application is based on actual use in commerce.

    Paper applications and any accompanying communications or material should be addressed to:
    Commissioner for Trademarks
    P.O. Box 1451
    Alexandria, Virginia 22313-1451

    These requirements are explained in detail in the booklet Basic Facts about Trademarks .

  • How do I register my trademark?

    You can fill out an application online, check it for completeness, and file it over the Internet using the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) . You can also respond to Office actions and file notices of change of address, allegations of use and requests for extension of time to file a statement of use through TEAS. You can check the status of your application through the Trademark Applications and Registrations Retrieval (TARR) database. If you do not have access to the Internet, you can call the Trademark Assistance Center at 1-800-786-9199 or 1-571-272-9250 to request a paper form. For further information about the applying for a trademark registration, see Basic Facts about Trademarks .

  • Why should I obtain a trademark?

    Here are some specific benefits of having a federally registered trademark:

    • 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.
      • See U.S. Customs Service
      • See Computer Crime and Intellectual Property Section of the Department of Justice
  • What is a trademark?

    The term "trademark" is often used to refer to any of the four types of marks that can be registered with the USPTO. The two primary types of marks that can be registered with the USPTO are:

    • Trademarks - used by their owners to identify goods, that is, physical commodities, which may be natural, manufactured, or produced, and which are sold or otherwise transported or distributed via interstate commerce.
    • Service marks - used by their owners to identify services, that is, intangible activities, which are performed by one person for the benefit of a person or persons other than himself, either for pay or otherwise.

    There are other types of marks that can be registered in the USPTO, but they occur infrequently and have some different requirements for registration than the more commonly applied for trademarks and service marks. They are:

    • Certification marks
    • Collective marks
      • Collective trademarks and collective service marks
      • Collective membership marks

    PLEASE NOTE: Since the benefits conferred by registration are essentially the same for all types of marks, the term "trademark" is often used in general information that applies to service marks, certification marks, and collective marks as well as to true trademarks (marks used on goods) as defined above.

    For more information regarding Trademarks, please refer to Basic Facts About Trademarks.

  • How can I view my documents if I cannot use TSDR?

    You can access a copy of your documents by using the TDR Application Programming Interface (API), which relies on specific URLs rather than the TSDR interface presented through the USPTO website. You should follow these examples:

  • May a trademark filing company represent me before the USPTO?

    Only licensed attorneys may represent you before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). If you hire someone to represent you, he or she must be an attorney licensed to practice law in a U.S. state and be a member in good standing of the highest court of that state. Attorneys from other countries, except certain Canadian attorneys and agents representing Canadian filers, may NOT practice before the USPTO.

  • What are trademark monitoring and document filing services?

    You may receive unsolicited communications from companies requesting fees for trademark-related services, such as monitoring and document filing. Although solicitations from these companies frequently display customer-specific information, including USPTO serial number or registration number and owner name, companies that offer these services are not affiliated or associated with the USPTO or any other federal agency.

  • Will my information be public?

    All data you submit to the USPTO, including your phone number, e-mail address, and street address, but not your credit card and banking information, is public record and is viewable on the Internet. Do not submit personal identifying information that is NOT required for a filing, such as a social security number or driver's license number.

    For more information, please consult the FAQs Personal Information in Trademark Records.

  • What is "interstate commerce"?

    For goods, "interstate commerce" generally involves sending the goods across state lines with the mark displayed on the goods or the packaging for the goods. With services, "interstate commerce" generally involves rendering a service to customers in another state or rendering a service that affects interstate commerce (e.g., restaurants, gas stations, hotels).

  • What are "common law" rights?

    Federal registration is not required to establish rights in a trademark. Common law rights arise from actual use of a mark and may allow the common law user to successfully challenge a registration or application.

  • My spouse owned a trademark registration and has since died. Do I own it now?

    Perhaps. Because this depends on state law, the USPTO cannot provide a definite answer for all factual situations. You should consider contacting an attorney. Local bar associations and phone directories usually have attorney listings. Click here for further information.

  • What if someone else is using my registered mark on related goods and services?

    You may challenge use of your trademark by someone else in several ways, depending on the factual situation. You should consider contacting an attorney specializing in trademark law. Local bar associations and phone directories usually have attorney listings broken down by specialties. Time can be of the essence. Click here for further information.

  • Is a federal registration valid outside of the United States?

    No. However, certain countries recognize a United States registration as a basis for filing an application to register a mark in those countries under international treaties. See TMEP Chapter 1000 and TMEP Chapter 1900 for further information.

  • Are there any restrictions on use of the "®" symbol?

    There are three important restrictions on use of the "®" symbol: (1) it may only be used after the mark is registered (you may not use it during the application process); (2) it may only be used on or in connection with the goods and services listed in the federal registration; and (3) it may only be used while the registration is still alive (you may not continue to use it if you don't maintain the registration or it expires). Note: Because several foreign countries use "®" to indicate that a mark is registered in that country, use of the symbol by the holder of a foreign registration may be proper.

  • Where should I place the ® symbol?

    There are no specific requirements on where the "®" symbol should be placed relative to the mark, but most businesses use the symbol in the upper right corner of the mark. The "®" symbol indicates that you have federally registered your trademark with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. It puts the public on notice that your mark is registered and that you have nationwide rights in it. You may only use the registration symbol with the mark on or in connection with the goods/services listed in the federal trademark registration and while the registration is still alive (you may not continue to use it if you don't maintain the registration or it expires). Note: Because several foreign countries use "®" to indicate that a mark is registered in that country, use of the symbol by the holder of a foreign registration may be proper.

  • How long does a trademark registration last?

    The registration is valid as long as you timely file all post registration maintenance documents. You must file a "Declaration of Use under Section 8" between the fifth and sixth year following registration. In addition, you must file a combined "Declaration of Use and Application for Renewal under Sections 8 and 9" between the ninth and tenth year after registration, and every 10 years thereafter. If these documents are not timely filed, your registration will be cancelled and cannot be revived or reinstated. For more information see Maintain/Renew a Registration.

  • May I assign or transfer the ownership of my trademark to someone else?

    Yes. A registered mark may be assigned and a mark for which an application to register has been filed may be assignable. Certain exceptions exist concerning the assignment of Intent-to-Use applications. Assignments may be recorded in the USPTO for a fee. For the guidelines for filing an assignment and the assignment form itself, click on Assignments or contact the Assignment Recordation Branch at 571-272-3350.

  • If I filed based on an "intent to use" the mark, when must I allege actual use of the mark in commerce?

    You must file your Allegation of Use either prior to the date the application is approved for publication or within six months after the Notice of Allowance is issued, unless a request for an extension of time is granted.

  • How do I file a Statement of Use or Extension Request after the Notice of Allowance is issued?

    The Applicant has six (6) months from the mailing date of the notice of allowance to file either a Statement of Use or an Extension Request.

    If the applicant is using the mark in commerce on all of the goods/services listed in the notice of allowance, the applicant must submit a statement of use form, specimen and the required fee(s) within 6 months from the issue date the notice of allowance to avoid abandonment. Applicant cannot withdraw the statement of use; however, the applicant may file one extension request with the statement of use to provide more time to overcome deficiencies in the statement of use. No further extension requests may be filed.

    If the applicant is not using the mark in commerce on all of the goods/services listed in the notice of allowance, the applicant must file an extension request form and the required fee(s) to avoid abandonment. The applicant must continue to file extension requests every 6 months calculated from the issue date of the notice of allowance until the statement of use is filed. A total of 5 extension requests may be filed.

  • How long will it take for my mark to register?

    The total time for an application to be processed may be anywhere from almost a year to several years, depending on the basis for filing and the legal issues that may arise in the examination of the application. You may view the application processing timelines here.

  • How can I check the status of my application?

    Once you receive a serial number for your application, you can check the status of your application through the Trademark Status and Document Retrieval (TSDR) system. If you do not have access to the Internet, you can call the Trademark Assistance Center at 1-800-786-9199 to request a status check. You should check on the status of your pending application every 3-4 months. If the USPTO has taken any action, you may need to respond promptly. All USPTO actions are available for viewing using TSDR.

  • Is registration of my mark guaranteed?

    No. The examining attorney will review the application and may issue refusals based on the Trademark Act of 1946, 15 U.S.C. §1051 et seq., or the Trademark Rules of Practice, 37 C.F.R. Part 2.
    The most common reasons for refusing registration are because the mark is:

    • Likely to cause confusion with a mark in a registration or prior application;
    • Descriptive for the goods/services;
    • A geographic term;
    • A surname;
    • Ornamental as applied to the goods.

    For a discussion of these and other possible refusals, see Chapter 1200 of the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure (TMEP).
    The examining attorney may also issue requirements concerning, for example:

    • The goods and services listed in the application;
    • The description of the mark;
    • The quality of the drawing;
    • The specimens.
  • What can I do to help the application proceed as smoothly as possible?

    1. File the application and all other documents electronically through the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS).

    2. Carefully review all documents before filing to make sure all issues have been addressed and all the necessary elements are included.

    3. Authorize email correspondence and promptly inform the USPTO of any change in correspondence address, including your email address. This can be done through TEAS, available here.

    4. Check the status of your application every 3-4 months using the Trademark Status and Document Retrieval (TSDR) system. If the USPTO has taken any action, you may need to respond promptly. All USPTO actions are available for viewing using the TSDR system.

  • Can you register the name of a musical group or band?

    A band name may function as a service mark for "entertainment services in the nature of performances by a musical group" if it is used to identify live performances.

  • What is a drawing?

    The "drawing" is a clear image of the mark applicant seeks to register. The USPTO uses the drawing to upload the mark into the USPTO search database and to print the mark in the Official Gazette and on the registration certificate. There are two types of drawings: "standard character" and "special form." For more information on the different types of drawings see Basic Facts About Trademarks.

  • What is a specimen?

    A specimen is a sample of how you actually use the mark in commerce on your goods or with your services. A specimen shows the mark as your purchasers encounter it in the marketplace (e.g., on your labels or on your website).

  • What is the difference between "use in commerce" and "intent to use" in commerce?

    The basic difference between these two filing bases is whether you have used the mark on all the goods/services. If you have already used your mark in commerce, you may file under the "use in commerce" basis. If you have not yet used your mark in commerce, but intend to use it in the future, you must file under the "intent to use" basis. An "intent to use" basis will require filing an additional form and fee that are unnecessary if you file under "use in commerce."

  • Must I be a U.S. citizen to obtain a federal registration?

    No. However, your citizenship must be provided in the application. If you have dual citizenship, then you must indicate which citizenship will be printed on the certificate of registration.

  • May a minor file a trademark application?

    The question of whether an application may be filed in the name of a minor depends on your state's law. If the minor may validly enter into binding legal obligations, and may sue or be sued, in the state in which he or she is domiciled, the application may be filed in the name of the minor. Otherwise, the application must be filed in the name of a parent or legal guardian, clearly setting forth his or her status as a parent or legal guardian. An example of the manner in which the applicant should be identified in such cases is: "John Smith, United States citizen, (parent/legal guardian) of Mary Smith."

  • Who may file an application?

    Only the owner of the trademark may file an application for registration. The owner controls the use of the mark, and controls the nature and quality of the goods to which it is affixed, or the services for which it is used. The owner may be an individual, corporation, partnership, LLC, or other type of legal entity.

  • Where do I send mail or make deliveries?

    Although we recommend you file documents online using TEAS, paper mail may be sent to the following address: Commissioner for Trademarks, P.O. Box 1451, Alexandria, VA 22313-1451.

    Submissions sent using other delivery services such as Federal Express, United Parcel Service, and DHL is not encouraged, but if used, must be delivered to: Trademark Assistance Center, Madison East, Concourse Level Room C 55, 600 Dulany Street Alexandria, VA 22314.

  • What is the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS)?

    The Trademark Electronic Application System allows you to fill out and file an application form online, paying by credit card, electronic funds transfer, or through an existing USPTO deposit account. TEAS can also be used to file other documents including a response to an examining attorney's Office action, a change of address, an allegation of use, and post registration maintenance documents.

  • Where can I find trademark forms?

    You can find USPTO forms through the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS). Two forms are available for the initial application: regular TEAS and TEAS Plus. Both forms allow you to pay by credit card, electronic funds transfer, or through an existing United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) deposit account.

    If you do not have Internet access, you can access TEAS at any Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC) throughout the United States. Many public libraries also provide Internet access.

    We recommend using TEAS, but you may file a paper application. To obtain a printed form, call the Trademark Assistance Center at 1-800-786-9199.

  • Will the Office conduct a search for me?

    The USPTO cannot search your mark for you prior to filing. After filing, the USPTO will conduct a search and will refuse to register your mark if there is another registered or pending mark similar to yours.

  • Where can I conduct a trademark search for trademarks in pending applications and federal registrations?

    You may search the USPTO's Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) database free of charge before filing or you may wish to hire an attorney to perform the search and assess the results for you. Alternatively, you can search the database at a Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC). Information about PTRC locations can be found here.

  • Should I conduct a search for similar trademarks before filing an application?

    It is advisable to conduct a search before filing your application. See TESS TIPS for further information.

  • Is registration guaranteed and can I get a refund of money paid?

    Registration is not guaranteed and only money paid when not required may be refunded. For information on why registration may be refused, see Basic Facts About Trademarks.

  • Should I have an attorney?

    Although not required, most applicants use private trademark attorneys for legal advice regarding use of their trademark, filing an application, and the likelihood of success in the registration process, since not all applications proceed to registration. A private trademark attorney (not associated with the USPTO) may help you avoid many potential pitfalls.

  • Do federal regulations govern the use of the designations "TM" or "SM" or the ® symbol?

    If you claim rights to use a mark, you may use the "TM" (trademark) or "SM" (service mark) designation to alert the public to your claim of a "common-law" mark. No registration is necessary to use a "TM" or "SM" symbol and you may continue to use these symbols even if the USPTO refuses to register your mark. Those symbols put people on notice that you claim rights in the mark, although common law doesn't give you all the rights and benefits of federal registration.

    You may only use the federal registration symbol "®" after the USPTO actually registers a mark, not while an application is pending. And it may only be used on or in connection with the goods/services listed in the federal trademark registration and while the registration is still alive (you may not continue to use it if you don't maintain the registration or it expires). Although there are no specific requirements on where the symbol should be placed relative to the mark, most businesses use the symbol in the upper right corner of the mark. Note: Because several foreign countries use "®" to indicate that a mark is registered in that country, use of the symbol by the holder of a foreign registration may be proper.

  • What are the benefits of federal trademark registration?

    Owning a federal trademark registration on the Principal Register provides several advantages, including:

    • Public notice of your claim of ownership of the mark;
    • A legal presumption of your ownership of the mark and your exclusive right to use the mark nationwide on or in connection with the goods/services listed in the registration;
    • The ability to bring an action concerning the mark in federal court;
    • The use of the U.S. registration as a basis to obtain registration in foreign countries;
    • The ability to record the U.S. registration with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Service to prevent importation of infringing foreign goods;
    • The right to use the federal registration symbol ®; and
    • Listing in the United States Patent and Trademark Office's online databases.
  • Must I register my trademark?

    No. You can establish rights in a mark based on use of the mark in commerce, without a registration. However, owning a federal trademark registration on the Principal Register provides several important benefits.

  • Where can I get basic trademark information?

    For information about applying for a trademark, click Basic Facts About Trademarks, and view the trademark videos that cover important topics and critical application filing tips. To understand what to expect in the overall process, view the timelines for trademark processing. If you still have questions, contact the Trademark Assistance Center at 1-800-786-9199.

  • What is a collective mark?

    A collective mark is any word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination thereof owned by a cooperative, an association, or other collective group or organization and used by its members to indicate the source of the goods or services.

  • What is a collective membership mark?

    A collective membership mark is any word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination thereof which indicates that the user of the mark is a member of a particular organization. The owner of the mark exercises control over the use of the mark; however, because the sole purpose of a membership mark is to indicate membership, use of the mark is by members.

  • What is a certification mark?

    A certification mark is any word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination thereof owned by one party who certifies the goods and services of others when they meet certain standards. The owner of the mark exercises control over the use of the mark; however, because the sole purpose of a certification mark is to indicate that certain standards have been met, use of the mark is by others.

  • What is a copyright?

    A copyright is a form of protection provided to the authors of "original works of authorship" including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works, both published and unpublished. The 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to reproduce the copyrighted work, to prepare derivative works, to distribute copies or phonorecords of the copyrighted work, to perform the copyrighted work publicly, or to display the copyrighted work publicly.

    A copyright protects the form of expression rather than the subject matter of the writing. For example, a description of a machine could be copyrighted, but this would only prevent others from copying the description; it would not prevant others from writing a description of their own or from making and using the machine. Copyrights are registered by the Library of Congress' Copyright Office.

    There are times when you may desire a combination of copyright, patent, and trademark protection for your work. You should consult an attorney to determine what forms of intellectual property protection are best suited to your needs.

  • What is a service mark?

    A service mark is a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination thereof, that identifies and distinguishes the source of a service rather than goods. The term "trademark" is often used to refer to both trademarks and service marks.

  • What is a trademark?

    Trademarks protect words, names, symbols, sounds, or colors that distinguish goods and services from those manufactured or sold by others and to indicate the source of the goods. Trademarks, unlike patents, can be renewed forever as long as they are being used in commerce.

    Trademarks are gistered with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

    Federal trademark registration has several benefits:

    • 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 filled with DHS' Bureau of Customs and Border Protection (BCBP) to prevent importation of infringing foreign goods.

    There are times when you may desire a combination of copyright, patent, and trademark protection for your work. You should consult an attorney to determin what forms of intellectual property protection are best suited to your needs.

  • How long does patent protection last?

    For applications filed on or after June 8, 1995, utility and plant patents are granted for a term which begins with the date of the grant and usually ends 20 years from the date you first applied for the patent subject to the payment of appropriate maintenance fees for a utility patent. There are no maintenance fees for plant patents . Design patents last 14 years from the date you are granted the patent. No maintenance fees are required for design patents.

    Note: Patents in force on June 8, 1995 and patents issued thereafter on applications filed prior to June 8, 1995 automatically have a term that is the greater of the twenty year term discussed above or seventeen years from the patent grant.

  • How can I help spread the word about the Trademark Expo?

    Please refer interested individuals to www.uspto.gov/TMExpo.

  • If I am selected as an exhibitor, may I have a role in the opening ceremony?

    Exhibitors may be selected to participate in the opening ceremony at the discretion of the Expo Committee. Such participation is generally limited to providing entertainment or professionally-made costumed characters featuring marks. Exhibitor representatives are welcome to attend the opening ceremony but are encouraged to ensure that booths remains staffed during the ceremony.

  • If I am selected to participate in the Trademark Expo, may I include my participation in written materials?

    Yes, but you may not state or imply that your selection constitutes endorsement of your trademarks, products, services, company, and/or organization by the USPTO, the U.S. Government, or any other federal agency.

  • What accommodations will be provided for exhibitors? Will exhibitors have access to audio-visual equipment and electrical outlets?

    Floor space for booths will be provided. Electrical connections will be available. At the exhibitor's request, 10€² x 10€² piped and draped exhibitor booths with carpet and padding, a 2€² x 8€² draped table, and two chairs will also be provided. As a general rule, exhibitors are responsible for equipment and setup costs incurred beyond the cost of the booth, tables, and chairs provided and the general building facilities.

  • If I do not have an exhibit for a booth, may I participate in the Trademark Expo in another way?

    Yes. You may participate by providing costumed characters, inflatable figures (all sizes welcome), multimedia content, materials for themed displays (e.g., non-traditional marks, evolution of marks, marks more than 100 years old, etc.), and educational materials about marks or intellectual property generally. Other forms of participation are welcome as well.

  • What types of exhibit themes are appropriate for the Trademark Expo?

    We seek exhibit themes that help educate the public about trademarks and other marks. Examples of themes a registered mark owner might wish to feature in an exhibit include, but certainly are not limited to, exhibits featuring:

    • Multiple different types of marks (e.g., trade dress, design mark, word mark, and/or slogan) all originating from one source. Purpose: to showcase the breadth of marks used by one source and to educate consumers on the variety of types of marks used in the marketplace.
    • Non-traditional marks (e.g., color, sound, scent). Purpose: to engage the public's interest by showcasing an interesting, unusual mark and to educate the public on the variety of types of trademarks used in the marketplace.
    • Certification marks. Purpose: to educate the public on the use of certification marks to certify a particular feature of goods/services (e.g., that goods/services come from a particular geographic location).
    • Interesting stories about a mark's creation and/or brand development. Purpose: to engage the public's interest in branding and to educate the public about considerations factored into mark selection and brand development.
    • The evolution of a mark over time. Purpose: to showcase the historical transformation of a mark and highlight how a mark owner may modernize a mark while continuing brand recognition over time.
    • Very old marks (e.g., marks more than 100 years old). Purpose: to highlight the longevity of certain marks and educate the public about maintaining valuable consumer brand recognition over time.
    • Authentic and counterfeit goods side by side. Purpose: to educate the public about the importance of protecting brand names and other marks as symbols of quality in our global market.
    • Marks commonly misused as generic terms. Purpose: to educate the public about how trademarks differ from the common commercial or generic names of goods and services and highlight the steps mark owners take to protect their marks.
  • When will I know if my proposal for an exhibit is accepted?

    Those who are selected to exhibit in the Expo should be notified by June 15, 2014.

  • How are applicants evaluated?

    Applications to exhibit are evaluated on the following criteria:

    • Brand recognition among consumers;
    • Ability to engage the public's interest in trademarks;
    • Category diversity, in particular whether an applicant's participation helps ensure that the Expo will feature a variety of different types of marks from different sources; and
    • Educational value of the proposed exhibit to enhance public understanding of the value of trademarks and other marks.
  • Who may exhibit? By when should those interested in exhibiting apply?

    Any owner of a registered United States trademark, service mark, certification mark, or collective mark may apply to exhibit. We encourage owners of widely-recognized marks to apply. We also encourage exhibits that showcase the value of federal registration, exhibits that engage the public's interest, and exhibits that help ensure that the Expo features a wide variety of different types of marks.

  • What types of displays and activities are featured at the Trademark Expo?

    The Expo includes exhibitor booths, educational seminars, costumed characters, inflatables, children's activities, themed indoor and outdoor displays, and much more. Past exhibits and displays have featured exhibits about counterfeiting activities, non-traditional marks (sound, color, configurations, etc.), certification marks, marks commonly misused as generic terms, the breadth of different types of marks used by one source, the evolution of a mark over time, people behind the names of marks, 100 year old marks, the value of federal registration, and interesting stories about how certain marks were created.

  • Is parking available?

    Yes, but be aware that on-street parking is limited and posted "no parking" times are enforced.

  • Who may attend the Trademark Expo? Do I have to pay?

    The event is open to the public. Admission is free and no tickets are required for entrance.

  • Where is the Trademark Expo?

    The Expo is held at the USPTO's headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia, in the Madison Building at 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria Virginia. The nearest Metro stops are King Street and/or Eisenhower Ave, which services the blue and yellow lines. The Metro stop is approximately a ten minute walk from the USPTO headquarters.

  • When is the Trademark Expo? What are the hours of operation?

    The Expo, a two-day event, is on Friday, October 17, 2014, from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm and Saturday, October 18, 2014, from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

  • Why does the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) sponsor a National Trademark Expo?

    The USPTO sponsors the National Trademark Expo to illustrate the value of brand names and other marks in the increasingly competitive global marketplace. The Trademark Expo educates the public about the important role trademarks and other marks play in our society and the global marketplace.

  • May I submit a complete claim listing in a reply when I am not making any changes to the claims, such as responding to a restriction requirement or merely arguing a rejection?

    Yes. Although a complete claim listing is only required whenever changes are made to any claims, one may be submitted in a reply to an Office action where no changes are being made. It is beneficial to the examiner (and all viewers of the electronic file) to have the most up-to-date set of claims in the most recent paper submitted by the applicant. Note that the claim listing in this situation would not include any claims with markings or any claims with the status identifiers of (new) or (currently amended).

  • Will the eOG:P be archived and searchable online in a cumulative database or only by issue?

    Present plans are to have the eOG:P searchable by individual issue only. To search within larger time spans, search the USPTO Patent Full Text Database by patentee name, keyword, or current classification.

  • Will the Official Gazette - Trademarks and Patent and Trademark Office Notices continue to be published in paper?

    Yes. To order, contact the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office, Washington, D. C. 20402, to whom all subscriptions should be made payable, and all communications addressed. VISA or Master Card may be used for telephone orders at (202) 512-1800 or visit bookstore.gpo.gov.

    To view the PDF version of the Official Gazette - Trademarks on the USPTO web site, click here.

  • Can I list my patent for sale in the eOG:P?

    Yes. On the second Tuesday of each month, patents for license or sale are published in the OG. The current fee for this service is $25 for each published item. Interested parties may call Mr. Lamont Fletcher at (703) 756-1558.

  • Can I purchase a subscription or single copy of the eOG:P?

    Sale of the eOG:P is discontinued as of December 31, 2011.

  • Is there an Annual Index to the eOG:P?

    Sale of the Annual Indices for 2001 through 2010 is discontinued as of December 31, 2011.

  • Can I link to the full patent in the USPTO Patent Full Text Database?

    Yes. By clicking on the "Full Text" button in the upper left corner of the patent record, you can jump to that patent in the full text database. If you are using the CD-ROM product, you must first log in to the Internet.

  • Are published patents the only content of the eOG:P?

    No. The eOG:P contains a section called Patent and Trademark Office Notices. Each week, the following information is published:

    • Expired Patents: Patents that expire due to failure to pay required maintenance fees. These patent numbers are published approximately 3 months after expiration.
    • Patents Reinstated: Patents reinstated due to the acceptance of a late maintenance fee.
    • Reissue Applications: Patents filed as reissues.
    • Reexaminations: Patents requested to be reexamined.
    • Certificates of Correction: Patents granted certificates to correct previously published material.
    • Summaries of final decisions issued by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
  • Is there any other matter published in the eOG:P?

    Yes. The following are also published in each issue:

    • Errata: Correction of erroneous previously published material.
    • Service by Publication: Notification to cancel trademark registration within thirty days, pending appearance of a registrant, assignee, or legal representative.
    • Registration to Practice: Names of individuals who have received provisional recognition to prepare and prosecute patent applications.
    • Notices from the Solicitor's Office: Notices to the public regarding changes and updates in Patent rules and regulations and/or other patent-related items.
    • Reclassification Reports: Lists newly established, deleted, or reclassified classes & subclasses, revised every 3 months.
  • How many weeks of the eOG:P will be available on the USPTO web site?

    Current plans are to maintain one year on the web site. To locate patents announced in earlier OGs, search the USPTO Patent Full Text Database by patentee name, keyword, current classification, or patent number.

  • Will the OG continue to be published in paper?

    The last issue of the paper OG was published on September 24, 2002.

  • How are patents accessible in the eOG:P?

    Patents are accessible by patent number, classification, a range of classes, patent type, and patentee name. There are also indexes by geographic location of the inventor, both by state and country.

  • What are the advantages to the eOG:P?

    Electronic formatting provides the following advantages:

    • There is a comprehensive index of patentees in addition to the traditional individual indexes by patent type
    • There are direct links to the patent from patentee names in the Index of Patentees
    • Plant patent images have been added to the bibliographic record
    • Changed text in Reissues is displayed in red
    • Patentees by country have been added to the Geographical Index
    • There are direct links to patents from state or country in the Geographical Index
    • A user can link directly to the types of utility patents: general and mechanical, chemical, and electrical
    • There is a direct link to the patent from a class or class and subclass
    • The patent record can be easily saved or printed
  • Is there such a thing as an international trademark?

    No. But you can obtain trademark protection in a number of countries by filing a single "international application" under the Madrid Protocol.

    The "Protocol Relating to the Madrid Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Marks " (Madrid Protocol) is an international treaty that allows a trademark owner to seek registration in any of the countries that have joined the Madrid Protocol by filing a single application, called an "international application." The International Bureau of the World Property Intellectual Organization, in Geneva, Switzerland administers the international registration system.

    You can apply for one online by using the USPTO's electronic Madrid Protocol forms.

    Learn more about the Madrid Protocol from the USPTO.

  • What is a trade secret?

    A trade secret is information that companies keep secret to give them an advantage over their competitors. No mechanism exists to federally record or register a trade secret.

  • Can I obtain international patent protection for my invention?

    Since the rights granted by a U.S. patent extend only throughout the territory of the United States and have no effect in a foreign country, an inventor who wishes patent protection in other countries must apply for a patent in each of the other countries or in regional patent offices. Almost every country has its own patent law, and a person desiring a patent in a particular country must make an application for patent in that country, in accordance with the requirements of that country. There are two treaties that provide for international protection.

    One is the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property which governs 140 participating countries, including the United States. It provides that each member country guarantees to the citizens of the other countries the same rights in patent and trademark matters that it gives to its own citizens. The treaty also provides for the right of priority in the case of patents, trademarks and industrial designs (design patents). This right means that, on the basis of a regular first application filed in one of the member countries, the applicant may, within a certain period of time, apply for protection in all the other member countries. These later applications will then be regarded as if they had been filed on the same day as the first application. Thus, these later applicants will have priority over applications for the same invention that may have been filed during the same period of time by other persons. Moreover, these later applications, being based on the first application, will not be invalidated by any acts accomplished in the interval, such as, for example, publication or exploitation of the invention, the sale of copies of the design, or use of the trademark. The period of time mentioned above, within which the subsequent applications may be filed in the other countries, is 12 months in the case of first applications for patent and six months in the case of industrial designs and trademarks.

    The United States is also a participant in the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) which governs over 100 member countries. The PCT provides a centralized, standardized application process for filing a single application that can result in patent protection in any number of designated member countries. The timely filing of an international application affords applicants an international filing date in each country which is designated in the international application and provides (1) a search of the invention and (2) a later time period within which the national applications for patent must be filed. A number of U. S. patent attorneys specialize in obtaining patents in foreign countries.

    Under U.S. law it is necessary, in the case of inventions made in the United States, to obtain a license from the Director of the USPTO before applying for a patent in a foreign country. Such a license is required if the foreign application is to be filed before an application is filed in the United States or before the expiration of six months from the filing of an application in the United States unless a filing receipt with a license grant issued earlier. The filing of an application for patent constitutes the request for a license and the granting or denial of such request is indicated in the filing receipt mailed to each applicant. After six months from the U.S. filing, a license is not required unless the invention has been ordered to be kept secret. If the invention has been ordered to be kept secret, the consent to the filing abroad must be obtained from the Director of the USPTO during the period the order of secrecy is in effect.

    The USPTO is the National Office for the United States and acts in the following capacities provided for under the PCT - Receiving Office, International Searching Authority, International Preliminary Examining Authority, and Designated/Elected Office.

    Learn more about the Patent Cooperation Treaty and the USPTO.

  • How does the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) help innovators stop fakes?

    The USPTO leads efforts to develop and strengthen both domestic and international intellectual property protection and advises the Secretary of Commerce, the President of the United States, and the Administration on patent, trademark, and copyright protection.

    The USPTO:

    • examines and grants patents;
    • examines and registers trademarks;
    • provides the public with a consolidated source of information about international intellectual property protection organizations on their International Intellectual Property webpage;
    • is an active participant in the International Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) Training Database effort hosted by the Department of State that is used to provide training and technical assistance relating to protecting IPR. The USPTOalso provides training to customs officers from other countries on techniques that can be used to detect potentialIPR violations;
    • provides support for international treaty negotiations, and represents United States interests regarding intellectual property rights.
    • provides an attorney-advisor from their Office of Enforcement to serve as an international intellectual property attach© at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, China.
  • What is intellectual property?

    The term intellectual property refers to creations of the mind - creative works or ideas embodied in a form that can be shared or can enable others to recreate, emulate, or manufacture them. There are four ways to protect intellectual property - patents,trademarks, copyrights or trade secrets

  • How do I obtain a copy of a trademark?

    Copies of documents in an application file, including, the application itself, Office action and copies of the registration certificate, can be ordered by telephone, fax, and over the Internet. Copies of trademark registrations, shipped via the U.S. Postal Service, may be purchased for $3 each. To order a copy of a trademark registration, you must provide the trademark registration number or complete serial number. Copies of other paperwork within the application can also be ordered and the fee for such documents will depend on the number of pages copied. To order other information from an application file, you must provide the trademark registration number of complete serial number. Checks or money orders should be made payable to the Director of Patents and Trademarks. The preferred method of paying for copies is VISA®, Master Card®, Discover®, and American Express® credit cards or an existing USPTO deposit account.

    Orders may be placed via the following methods:

    E-mail to dsd@uspto.gov

    Phone:(571) 272-3150 or (800) 972-6382 Staff is available Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

    Fax: (571) 273-3250 Fax service is operational 24 hours a day.

    Mail:

    Mail Stop Document Services
    Director of the U S Patent and Trademark Office
    P.O. Box 1450
    Alexandria, VA 22313-1450

    For information about expedited delivery services, such as overnight courier or fax, or our electronic ordering service, please call(571) 272-3150 between 8:30 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday - Friday. For additional information on trademark copies, you may visit Products and Services and to conduct a trademark search you may visit the Trademark Electronic Search System "TESS".

  • Is a trademark search necessary?

    It is advisable to conduct a search of the office records before filing an application. A search for pending, registered and dead trademarks may be conducted on the USPTO website using the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) or by visiting the Public Search Facility located on the first floor of the Madison East building at 600 Dulany St., Alexandria , VA 22313 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m.

    Also, certain information may be searched at a Patent and Trademark Depository Library (PTDL). To find your nearest PTDL, go to www.uspto.gov/go/ptdl. If you need assistance in searching for trademarks, you may wish to locate an attorney specializing in trademark law. Local bar associations and the Yellow Pages usually have attorney listing broken down by specialties.

  • What constitutes interstate commerce?

    For goods, "Interstate commerce" involves sending the goods across state lines with the mark displayed on the goods or the packaging for the goods. With services, "Interstate commerce" involves offering a service to those in another state or rendering a service that affects interstate commerce (e.g. restaurants, gas stations, hotels, etc.).

  • What is a trademark and a service mark?

    A trademark includes any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination used, or intended to be used, in commerce to identify and distinguish the goods of one manufacturer or seller from goods manufactured or sold by others, and to indicate the source of the goods. In short, a trademark is a brand name.

    A service mark is any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce, to identify and distinguish the services of one provider from the services provided by others, and to indicate the source of the services.

  • What are the benefits of a federal trademark registration?

    Federal trademark registration has several benefits:

    • 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.
  • What is the difference between TM and the R within the circle ®?

    Use of the TM and SM symbols may be governed by local, state, or foreign laws and the laws of a pertinent jurisdiction to identify the marks that a party claims rights to. The federal registration symbol, the R enclosed within a circle, may be used once the mark is actually registered in the USPTO. Even though an application is pending, the registration symbol may not be used before the mark has actually become registered.

    The federal registration symbol should only be used on goods or services that are the subject of the federal trademark registration.

    PLEASE NOTE: Several foreign countries use the letter R enclosed within a circle to indicate that a mark is registered in that country. Use of the symbol by the holder of a foreign registration may be proper.

  • When I file an amendment to the drawings, do I need a Letter to the Office Draftsman?

    No, a Letter to the Office Draftsman is not required. The amendment to the drawings must include: (1) replacement figures which incorporate the desired changes, and (2) an explanation of the changes either in the drawing amendments or remarks section of the amendment.

  • I filed an after-final amendment in compliance with the previous version of 37 CFR 1.121 with a certificate of mailing date before July 30, 2003 and the amendment was not entered by the Office. I would like to file a request for continued examination (RCE) under 37 CFR 1.114 and have the after-final amendment to be entered as the submission for the RCE. If the RCE is filed on or after July 30, 2003, would the Office accept the after-final amendment as a compliant amendment when the amendment is entered as the submission for the RCE?

    Yes, if the after-final amendment is filed in compliance with the previous version of 37 CFR 1.121 with a certificate of mailing date before July 30, 2003, the Office will enter the amendment as a compliant amendment when the RCE is entered.

  • Can I use the transmittal letter of a continuation or divisional application to amend the first sentence of the specification to add the benefit claim to the parent application?

    No, a preliminary amendment cannot be made in a transmittal letter or form for the filing of an application. The amendment to the specification that adds the specific reference to the parent application in the first sentence of the specification following the title must be provided on a separate sheet of paper in compliance with revised 37 CFR 1.121. Applicant may wish to provide the specific reference in an application data sheet (ADS) under 37 CFR 1.76 or in a new specification instead of filing a copy of the specification of the parent application with a preliminary amendment. The Office transmittal forms will no longer permit any preliminary amendment to be made in the transmittal form. If applicants are using a transmittal form that provides a box for a preliminary amendment, applicants are advised not to use such box, but to provide the preliminary amendment on a separate sheet of paper in compliance with revised 37 CFR 1.121.

  • I have canceled a claim and renumbered the other claims during the international stage of an international application that was subsequently entered in the national stage. I would like to file an amendment to the claims in the national stage of the international application, what status identifier(s) should I use for the renumbered claims?

    The status identifier, "original", should be used for renumbered claims that have not been amended. The status identifier, ""previously presented"", should be used for renumbered claims that were previously amended but are not being amended in the amendment. The status identifier, "currently amended", should be used for renumbered claims that are being amended in the amendment.

  • If an application is filed with a preliminary amendment to add several new claims, does the preliminary amendment have to include a complete listing of all claims in compliance with revised 37 CFR 1.121?

    Yes, the preliminary amendment must be filed in compliance with revised 37 CFR 1.121 with a complete listing of the claims. The new claims should have the status identifier, "new". Applicant should not use the status identifier, "original" for the claims added in the preliminary amendment, even if the application was filed with an oath or declaration that has a statement referring to the preliminary amendment. If applicant files a subsequent amendment that includes a complete listing of the claims, applicant should use the status identifier, "previously presented" (if the claims added in the preliminary amendment are not being amended), or "currently amended" (if the claims added in the preliminary amendment are being amended). Filing an application with a preliminary amendment is not recommended. Applicants are encouraged to file the application with a specification that includes the desired set of claims. See File Continuation or Divisional Application with a New Specification and Copy of Oath or Declaration from Prior Application, 1251 Off. Gaz. Pat. Office 54 (October 9, 2001).

  • If I filed an amendment under the previous version of 37 CFR 1.121 with a certificate of mailing date before July 30, 2003, the effective date of revised 37 CFR 1.121, but the Office received the amendment on or after July 30, 2003, would the amendment be accepted as a compliant amendment under 37 CFR 1.121?

    Yes, if the amendment is filed in compliance with the previous version of 37 CFR 1.121 with a certificate of mailing date before July 30, 2003, the amendment will be accepted as a compliant amendment. See Pre-OG notice, Amendments Permitted under the Revised Amendment Practice and Treatment of Non-Compliant Amendments (signed July 11, 2003) available on the USPTO website.

  • How can I get patent information on submitting a change of correspondence address?

    Where an attorney or agent of record (or applicant, if he or she is prosecuting the application pro se) changes his or her correspondence address, he or she is responsible for promptly notifying the United States Patent and Trademark Office of the new correspondence address (including ZIP code number). The notification should also include his or her telephone number. For additional information on change of correspondence address, you may visit the Patents page and then by clicking on "Customer-requested actions" see MPEP Chapter 601.03. Also, you may visit our web site for patent forms , see Form No. PTO/SB/122 (pending application) and PTO/SB/123 (issued patent).

    In addition, an address represented by a Customer Number [definition] may be designated as the correspondence address of one or more applications (or patents) or the fee address of one or more allowed applications or patents. In addition, a Customer number representing a list of practitioners may be designated as the practitioners covered by a Power of Attorney in one or more applications or patents. A Customer Number associated with a correspondence address of an application or patent is the Customer Number used to obtain access to the Patent Application Information Retrieval (PAIR) system for that application or patent athttp://portal.uspto.gov/external/portal/pair. See MPEP § 1730 for additional information regarding PAIR.

  • When should I receive my patent filing receipt?

    For information regarding the official filing receipt for a patent application, please call Office of Initial Patent Examination, Customer Services between 8:30 a.m. - 5 o'clock p.m. Eastern Time on normal business days. The number is (571) 272-4000.

  • Can I bring in my patent application to your office?

    Yes, you may personally deliver your patent application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The USPTO, is located in Alexandria, Virginia >> Directions. The following mailing addresses may be of assistance to you.

    Mailing address of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is:

    Commissioner for Patents
    P.O. Box 1450,
    Alexandria, VA 22313-1450

    For private courier patent deliveries, the street address of the USPT0's mailroom is:

    United States Patent and Trademark Office
    Customer Service Window
    Randolph Building
    401 Dulany Street
    Alexandria, VA 22314

  • Can I download patent forms off the Internet or web site?

    Yes. For patent forms information, you may visit the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Web site at http://www.uspto.gov/go/forms. Presently, only a few forms are fillable on-line.

  • Can I fax in my patent application?

    No, you can not fax in your patent application. Fax machines do not currently produce a document of sufficient quality to allow the text to be scanned and processed for publication purposes. Applications may, however, be filed through the Electronic Filing System (EFS). For additional information on EFS, contact the Electronic Business Center at (866) 217-9197 (toll free) or (703) 305-3028. For additional information regarding filing patent applications, you may contact the USPTO Contact Center (UCC) and request to be transferred to the Inventors Assistance Center (IAC). IAC representatives are available Monday through Friday (except federal holidays) from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time

  • How does one file protest on patents that are pending?

    Protests by a member of the public against pending applications will be referred to the examiner having charge of the subject matter involved. A protest specifically identifying the application to which the protest is directed will be entered in the application file if: (1) The protest is submitted prior to the publication of the application or the mailing of a notice of allowance under rule 1.311, whichever occurs first; and (2) The protest is either served upon the applicant in accordance with rule 1.248, or filed with the Office in duplicate in the event service is not possible. For more detailed information on protesting a patent, you may visit our Web site athttp://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/mpep.htm for the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP) Chapter 1900.

  • How long does it take for a patent application to be processed?

    Currently, the average patent application pendency is 24.6 months. Applications received in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office are numbered in sequential order and the applicant will be informed within eight weeks of the application number and official filing date if filed in paper. If filed electronically, the application number is available within minutes.

  • How do I obtain a complete file history of a patent?

    A file history of a patent or a published application for patent may also be obtained in person through the File Information Unit (FIU). The FIU is on the third floor of the Randolph Square Building, 2800 S. Randolph St., Arlington, Virginia. You may contact the FIU through their direct line at 703-756-1100.

  • How do I check on the status of my pending patent application?

    The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is pleased to present PAIR - Patent Application Information Retrieval System. PAIR has a private site that provides a USPTO/Internet infrastructure capability to securely provide patent application status information to USPTO customers with a customer number associated with the correspondence address for their application and the appropriate software tools. Contact the Patent Electronic Business Center (PEBC) at (571) 272-4100 to learn more about the tools necessary to access private PAIR.

    PAIR also has a public side to provide the same information to the public once an application has issued as a patent or published as a patent application publication. Once you receive a patent filing receipt containing the application number of your application, you may check on the status of a pending application once you obtain the appropriate tools.

    To find out information on PAIR, visit the PEBC website at: http://www.uspto.gov/ebc/newusers.html. You may also call the examiner assigned to your patent application, and if this information is not known, you may call the File Information Unit at (703) 308-2733. For additional information, you may contact the USPTO Contact Center (UCC) and request to be transferred to the Inventors Assistance Center (IAC). IAC representatives are available Monday through Friday (except federal holidays) from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

  • How can I find out the inventor's name of a particular patent?

    Users can access searchable databases containing full-text patent information for U.S. patents granted since 1976 and full-page images since 1790 on the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) web site atwww.uspto.gov/go/pats.

    A search may also be conducted at a Patent and Trademark Depository Library (PTDL) established throughout the United States. These libraries have copies of patents in multiple formats arranged in numerical order. They also have classification search tools, automated search aids, and photocopy facilities available to the public. For additional information on the nearest PTDL, you may visit our web site at:http://www.uspto.gov/go/ptdl.

    The UPTO Public Search Facility staff will conduct an inventor search and provide a list of patent numbers found. This information may be obtained upon request by submitting the inventor's name and approximate date of patent grant and payment of $40 for one hour or fraction thereof, which usually encompasses a 10 year span.

    For the current schedule of fees, see the USPTO web site at www.uspto.gov/go/fees or you may request that USPTO mail a fee schedule to you. Please note: Fees are subject to change in (usually) October of each year and should therefore be verified before submission to the USPTO. Checks or money orders should be payable to the Commissioner for Patents and sent to:

    U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
    Public Search Facility, Manager
    Madison - East, First Floor
    P.O. Box 1450
    Alexandria, VA 22313-1450

  • Do I have to come to Alexandria, Virginia to do a patent search?

    The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Patent and Trademark Depository Library Program (PTDLP) administers a nationwide network of public, state and academic libraries designated as Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries (PTDLs).

    PTDLs are located in 48 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico where collections of patents may be examined. PTDLs are open to the public and provide access to automated search systems to assist with your search. Call the library before visiting to determine hours of operation, services, and fees. For additional information on the nearest PTDL, visit the PTDL web site at www.uspto.gov/go/ptdl. You may perform preliminary searches of patent information on the USPTO web site at www.uspto.gov/go/pats

  • How can I find out if my invention is already patented?

    Public users may perform preliminary searches of patent information in a variety of formats including on-line, microfilm, and print at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Public Search Facility located in Alexandria, VA.

    State of the art computer workstations provide automated searching of patents issued from 1790 to the current week of issue. Full document text may be searched on U.S. patents issued since 1971 and OCR text from 1920 to 1970. U.S. patent images from 1790 to the present may be retrieved for viewing or printing. Some foreign patent documents are available.

    A complete patent backfile in numeric sequence is available on microfilm or in optical disc format. Official Gazettes, Annual Indexes (of Inventors), the Manual of Classification and its subject matter index, and other search aids are available in various formats.

    Patent assignment records [e Biz] of transactions affecting the ownership of patents, microfilmed deeds, and indexes are also available.

    The Public Search Facility is located in the Madison East building on the first floor at 600 Dulany St., Alexandria, VA 22313. The telephone number is 571-272-3275.

    Users can access the full-text searchable database containing patent information for all U.S. patents granted since 1976 and all patent application publications (first published in March 2001), on the USPTO web site at www.uspto.gov/go/pats [e Biz] .

    You may retain a patent attorney or agent to conduct a complete search. For information on registered patent attorneys and agents in your area, you may visit the Office of Enrollment and Discipline web site athttp://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/dcom/gcounsel/oed.htm.

    Inventors can also perform a preliminary search of patents at one of the Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries (PTDLs) established throughout the United States. These libraries have copies of patents in microfilm and/or optical disc format arranged in numerical order. They have classification search tools, automated search aids, and photocopy facilities available to the public. For information on your nearest PTDL, you may visit PTDL web site at www.uspto.gov/go/ptdl.

    >> see also How to Search

  • How do I conduct a patent assignment search?

    A patent is intellectual property that may be sold or bequeathed to heirs of a deceased patentee or patent owner. The patent law provides for the transfer or sale of a patent or patent application by means of a legal document called an assignment. A properly executed assignment transfers all rights from the existing owner to another person. When the patent is transferred, the assignee becomes the new owner of the patent and has the same rights as the original owner.

    The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) records all assignment documents and any document that affects title. Documents that affect title are, but are not limited to, mergers, changes of names, security agreements, various liens, licenses, probate documents, and bankruptcy petitions. For information on filing a patent assignment or documents affecting title, please call the Assignment Division between 8:30 a.m.and 5 p.m. Eastern Time on normal business days at (571) 272-3350.

    The USPTO Public Search Facility maintains assignment ownership records. The Public Search Facility, located on the first floor of the Madison East building at 600 Dulany St. , Alexandria , VA 22313 , is open to the public from 8:00 a.m. to 8 p.m. , Monday through Friday, except Federal holidays. Assignment information is also available at the Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries throughout the United States.

    For additional patent assignment information, you may visit the USPTO web site atwww.uspto.gov/web/offices/ac/ido/opr/index.html .

    >> see also Search Patent Assignments

  • How can I obtain patent application drawing information?

    The Guide for the Preparation of Patent Drawings is currently out of print. This publication, when available, can be ordered from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402, or you may call 202 512-1800. The Guide to Filing A Utility Patent Application also contains information on drawing requirements. This publication is available for your use at a Patent and Trademark Depository Library (PTDL) in your area or on the USPTO website at http://www.uspto.gov/web/patents/pubs/pdg0602.zip. For information on your nearest PTDL, you may visit PTDL Web site at http://www.uspto.gov/go/ptdl. Additionally, the rules for patent drawings are included in title 37 of the Code of Federal Regulations, sections 1.81, 1.83, 1.84 and 1.85, and drawings are also addressed in Section 608.02 of the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP)(the MPEP includes a copy of title 37). The MPEP is available on our Web site at http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/mpep.htm.

    For additional information, you may contact the USPTO Contact Center (UCC) and request to be transferred to the Inventors Assistance Center (IAC). IAC representatives are available Monday through Friday (except federal holidays) from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

  • How do I obtain a copy of a patent or a patent application publication?

    Copies of patents or patent application publications, shipped via the U.S. Postal Service, may be purchased for $3 each. To order a patent copy, you must provide the patent number. To order a copy of a patent application publication, you must provide the publication number. Checks or money orders should be payable to the Director of Patents and Trademarks. Copies can also be paid for by using VISA®, MasterCard®, American Express®, Discover® credit cards, Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) or a USPTO deposit account.

    Orders may be placed via the following methods:

    Order copies online

    E-mail to dsd@uspto.gov

    Phone:(571) 272-3150 or (800) 972-6382. Staff is available Monday through Friday from 8:30 AM - 5:00 PM Eastern Time.

    Fax: (571) 273-3250 . Fax service is operational 24 hours daily.

    Mail:

    Mail Stop Document Services
    Director of the U S Patent and Trademark Office
    P.O. Box 1450
    Alexandria, VA 22313-1450.

    For information about expedited delivery services, such as overnight courier, please call (571) 272-3150 between 8:30 AM - 8:00 PM Eastern Time, Monday - Friday.

    For additional patent copy information, you may visit Products and Services and to conduct a patent search you may visit Search Patents.

  • I lost my original grant patent, can I get another?

    The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office issues only one original grant copy of a patent to the inventor. However, you may obtain a certified (blue ribbon and seal copy) by contacting the Certification Division at 800 972-6382 or (571) 272-3150.

    On petition, the Office will create a replacement patent grant. Applicant must file a petition under 37 CFR 1.182, with a request for a replacement patent grant and a statement that the original patent grant was lost or stolen. The current petition fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(f) (fee code 122) should also be provided. Petitions under 37 CFR 1.182 are treated by the Office of Petitions. The telephone number for the Office of Petitions is (571) 272-3282.

  • What is the difference between a utility patent and a design patent?

    A utility patent may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, compositions of matter, or any new useful improvement thereof. A design patent may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture. Upon request, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will send information on utility and design patent applications including forms for filing applications. To request this information, you may contact the USPTO Contact Center (UCC) and request to be transferred to the Inventors Assistance Center (IAC). IAC representatives are available Monday through Friday (except federal holidays) from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

  • What is the difference between a disclosure document and a provisional application?

    A Disclosure Document is not a patent application, and does not permit the term "Patent Pending" to be applied in connection with the invention. The date of receipt of a Disclosure Document in the USPTO will not become the effective filing date of any patent application subsequently filed. The date of the Disclosure Document's receipt in the USPTO, however, provides evidence of a date of conception if it is referenced in a related patent application within two years of such receipt.

    The Disclosure Document brochure is at http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/disdo.html.

    Unlike a Disclosure Document, a provisional application is a patent application, which establishes an official United States patent application filing date for the invention and permits the term "Patent Pending" to be applied in connection with the invention. A foreign application may claim priority to a provisional application, but a disclosure document may not be relied upon for priority. A provisional application automatically becomes abandoned when its pendency expires 12 months after the provisional application filing date by operation of law. Applicants must file a non-provisional application claiming benefit of the earlier provisional application filing date in the USPTO before the provisional application pendency period expires in order to preserve any benefit from the provisional-application filing.

    Information on provisional applications is located at http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/provapp.htm.

    Upon request, the USPTO will send Disclosure Document and Provisional Patent Application brochures including forms. For additional information, you may contact the USPTO Contact Center (UCC) and request to be transferred to the Inventors Assistance Center (IAC). IAC representatives are available Monday through Friday (except federal holidays) from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

  • How do I get help marketing my invention?

    In nearly all states there are state planning and development agencies or departments of commerce and industry to assist inventors . If you do not know the names and addresses of your state organizations, you may obtain this information by writing to the governor of your state or by accessing the Small Business Administration Web site at http://www.sbaonline.sba.gov/.

  • I would like to sell a patent. Do you have a way of advertising it?

    Yes. Upon request and payment of a fee for this service, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office will publish in the Official Gazette of the United States Patent and Trademark Office; Patents, a notice of the availability of a patent for license or sale. For the current schedule of fees, see the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Web site at http://www.uspto.gov/go/fees* . Please note: Fees are subject to change in October of each year and should therefore be verified before submission to the USPTO. To obtain further information, you may contact the Office of Patent Publication at 571-272-4200.

  • Can you give me some information on companies that can help with my invention?

    Invention development companies are private and public research companies that help inventors develop, patent, and promote their ideas so they can be commercially licensed or sold. While many of these organizations are legitimate, some are not. Here are seven tips to help you make smart invention development decisions:

    Learn About the Patent Process.
    When you understand the basics of how to get a patent, you will know when invention marketers are making promises they, or the patent system, can't deliver.

    Do Your Homework.
    Check the organization's references, ask for credentials, and then check them.

    Be Realistic.
    Not every invention is patentable. Be wary of any developer willing to promote virtually any invention.

    Know Where Your Money Is Going.
    Ask the organization how your money will be spent. Be on guard against large up-front fees.

    Protect Your Rights.

    DO NOT disclose your invention to a developer over the phone before first signing a confidentiality agreement. You could forfeit valuable patent rights.

    Track Your Invention's Progress.
    Once you decide to use an invention development organization, deal directly with the agent or patent attorney who will be handling your patent application.

    Don't Get Discouraged!

    The patent process can be very complicated, so you will probably need professional help. There are many good patent agents and attorneys that can help you. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office maintains a nationwide register of attorneys and agents who meet our legal, scientific and technical requirements. For information on registered patent attorney and agents, you may visit the USPTO's Office of Enrollment and Discipline Web site at http://www.uspto.gov/go/oed.

    Protests by a member of the public against pending applications will be referred to the examiner having charge of the subject matter involved. A protest specifically identifying the application to which the protest is directed will be entered in the application file if: (1) The protest is submitted prior to the publication of the application or the mailing of a notice of allowance under rule 1.311, whichever occurs first; and (2) The protest is either served upon the applicant in accordance with rule 1.248, or filed with the Office in duplicate in the event service is not possible. For more detailed information on protesting a patent, you may visit our Web site athttp://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/mpep.htm for the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP) Chapter 1900.

  • Where can I obtain a USPTO form?

    All USPTO forms are available on our Forms page.

  • Does the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office offer tours?

    Currently, the USPTO does not offer or conduct public tours of its facilities.

    The USPTO Museum and Store are open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, and Noon to 5:00 p.m. Saturday. The museum and store are closed on Sundays and federal holidays. School and group tours are welcome at the museum. Please contact the Office of Public Affairs at 571-272-8400 to schedule a tour.

    The museum is located in the Atrium of the Madison Building, 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, Virginia, and easily accessible from the King Street and Eisenhower Avenue Metro stations.

    Please check our VISITING THE USPTO page to obtain information about local mass transportation systems and to view an area map.

  • How do I obtain information regarding the Patent and Trademark Depository Library Program?

    The Patent and Trademark Depository Library Program (PTDLP), administered by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, is a nationwide network of university, public, state, and special research libraries which receive and maintain collections of patent materials for public use. A significant number of depository libraries also have limited collections of foreign patents.

    As focal points for providing all types of intellectual property information, Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries offer a variety of services to their communities. These include: answering general, not legal, questions on patents, trademarks, and copyrights; providing photocopy services; assistance with preliminary patent searching; inventor name searching; trademark searching; patent attorneys and agents listings; and a multitude of other topics related to intellectual property.

    Searches are not conducted for patrons because that involves giving a legal opinion as to the results of the search. However, training is provided on the search process, and all the tools necessary to conduct the search.

    In addition to access to the USPTO website, the libraries receive current full-text patent documents approximately four weeks after they are issued, in DVD-ROM format. Most depository libraries have extensive or complete backfiles of full-text patents. The libraries also maintain support collections of books, journals, and other materials as a resource to their local communities.

    The depository libraries have public access terminals available that allow computerized searching of USPTO-produced optical disc patent and trademark data. These products are updated on the same schedule as those in the Patent Search Room. A current list of depository libraries can be found on the PTDLP web site at http://www.uspto.gov/go/ptdl

  • How do I find out if I need a patent, trademark or a copyright?

    Patents, Trademarks, and Copyrights are three types of intellectual property protection. They are different and serve different purposes.

    Patents protect inventions, and improvements to existing inventions.

    Trademarks include any word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used in commerce to identify and distinguish the goods of one manufacturer or seller from goods manufactured or sold by others, and to indicate the source of the goods. Service marks include any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used, or intended to be used, in commerce, to identify and distinguish the services of one provider from services provided by others, and to indicate the source of the services.

    Copyrights protect literary, artistic, and musical works. For general information, publications and other copyright related topics, you may visit their Web site at http://www.copyright.gov . Copyrights information can be obtained from the U.S. Copyright Office, Library of Congress, Washington, DC 20559 or you may call 202 707-3000 or 202 707-6737 (TTY).

  • How do I apply for a copyright?

    The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office does not register copyrights. Copyrights cover literary, artistic, and musical works. Copyrights are registered at the Copyright Office, Library of Congress. Information concerning copyrights may be obtained from the U.S. Copyright Office, Library of Congress, Washington, DC 20559, or you may visit their web site at: http://www.copyright.gov. Copyright Office specialists are available to answer questions by phone Monday through Friday (except federal holidays) from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time. Recorded copyright information is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You may contact the Copyright Office at 202 707-3000 or 202 707-6737 (TTY).

  • What is the filing fee for a trademark?

    Information is available on the Trademark FAQs page.

  • Can I file assignments online?

    Yes, you can file your assignments online through the Electronic Patent Assignment System (EPAS) at: http://epas.uspto.gov/.

  • Do Application Data Sheet (ADS) forms without non-publication requests have to be signed?

    No. The ADS only needs to be signed if a request for nonpublication is indicated.

  • Can I file using EFS-Web from a foreign country?

    Yes. If you are filing a new application, you may utilize EFS-Web as an unregistered user if you are filing from the US or another country as a pro se inventor or registered U.S. patent attorney. For a filer to submit follow-on documents from a foreign country, the filer must be a registered user and the document must be signed in accordance with 37 CFR 1.33(b).

  • How can misindexing a document affect my submission through EFS-Web?

    Misindexing may delay processing of your application.

  • Why is Accelerated Examination (AE) restricted to e-filing only?

    This is the current established procedure under which the examination of a patent application may be accelerated. Guidelines for Applicants under the Guidelines for Applicants under the New Accelerated Examination Procedure located at: http://www.uspto.gov/web/patents/accelerated/ state you must file the application via EFS-Web.

  • Should Continuations and Divisionals be filed as new or existing applications in EFS-Web?

    Continuations and Divisionals are considered new applications and should be filed as new applications in EFS-Web. Specific continuity data should be stated in the Application Data Sheet (ADS) or in the first sentence of the specification.

  • How will I receive the filing receipt for my application?

    You will receive the filing receipt by mail via the United States Postal Service.

  • Is there a spell feature in EFS-Web?

    No, the EFS-Web does not validate actual document content.

  • Do I have to be a U.S. Citizen to participate in the Accelerated Examination (AE) program?

    No, all applicants are invited to participate in the AE program providing they meet the filing requirements. See Accelerated Examination for more information at http://www.uspto.gov/web/patents/accelerated/

  • What is a PKI certificate and how can I obtain one?

    A PKI (Public Key Infrastructure) certificate is a digital certificate issued by the USPTO to registered patent attorneys, registered patent agents, independent inventors, and limited recognition practitioners. The PKI certificate ensures your transmission via EFS-Web against unauthorized viewing, and allows you to view recent submissions in Private PAIR. More information regarding the use of Public Key Infrastructure and how to obtain a digital certificate is available at the Patent Electronic Business Center web page at http://www.uspto.gov/ebc/ under "Register Now". It is recommended that EFS users obtain a customer number and digital certificate as soon as possible so that USPTO can provide them with the most complete information and support with regard to their applications as possible.

  • Can I file a plant patent application through EFS-Web?

    EFS-Web does not accept plant applications.

  • Once I've filed a patent application (e.g., provisional patent application, nonprovisional patent application) on EFS-Web and received an acknowledgment receipt, can I apply the term "Patent Pending" to products for which the patent application has been filed?

    After a filed provisional patent application is accorded a filing date, one is permitted to apply the term "Patent Pending" to products for which the patent application has been filed. After a filed nonprovisional patent application is accorded a filing date, one is permitted to apply the term "Patent Pending" to products for which the patent application has been filed as long as the nonprovisional patent application is pending.

  • What types of applications must be submitted through EFS-Web?

    Applications under the Accelerated Examination Program and Pre-Grant Publication requests.

  • What is the email address entered on the first EFS-Web screen used for?

    E-mail addresses are used for identification purposes only.

  • Can I file certified copies of priority documents via EFS-Web?

    No. Certified copies of priority documents should be submitted by mail. When a document that is required by statute to be certified must be filed, a copy, including a photocopy or facsimile transmission, of the certification is not acceptable. See 37 CFR 1.6(d)(2). An example of such a submission is a certified copy of a foreign patent application filed pursuant to 35 USC 119 or a certified copy of an international application filed pursuant to 35 USC 365. Note, however that it may be possible for the USPTO to retrieve an electronic copy of a priority document through the priority document exchange program. See 37 CFR 1.55(d).

  • Can I file an Accelerated Examination (AE) for a Design application?

    Accelerated Examination can be filed for Design and Non-Reissue Utility applications.

  • Can I erase a submission after it has been finally submitted?

    No. As a registered-filer, however, you may file an express abandonment as a follow-on paper to abandon the submission.

  • Can inventor declarations be filed with electronic signatures?

    Yes, inventors may use an electronic signature pursuant to 37 CFR 1.4(d)(2) such as on the oath or declaration under 37 CFR 1.63. The requirements for an electronic signature, however, are in addition to and do not substitute for the signature requirements specific to 37 CFR 1.63. Thus, an inventor seeking to S-sign a declaration pursuant to 37 CFR 1.63 must meet the signature requirements of both 37 CFR 1.63 and 37 CFR 1.4(d)(2). Pro se inventors can use S-signatures to sign replies to Office actions.

  • Does the Petition to Accept Unintentionally Delayed Payment of Maintenance Fee in an Expired Patent, form PTO/SB/66, offer an option to change entity status?

    This petition does include an option to change entity status.

  • How do I access EFS-Web?

    Go to www.uspto.gov, click on Patents on the left hand side of the screen, and click on File Online in EFS-Web.

  • What is the best way for a novice to learn the EFS-Web and PAIR systems?

    Please view our EFS-Web Help and Tutorial page on the USPTO website located at http://www.uspto.gov/ebc/efs_help.html

  • How secure are EFS-Web submissions?

    All communications between the end user's computer and the USPTO are encrypted and stored in a secure USPTO database.

  • What are the benefits of being a registered user?

    A registered user can save submissions, submit follow-on applications, and view submitted applications in Private PAIR almost immediately after submission.

  • Can I do a test filing on EFS-Web?

    No. EFS-Web is only authorized for filing official submissions. However, please visit the EFS-Web Help and Tutorial Page located at http://www.uspto.gov/ebc/efs_help.html for assistance with filing on EFS-Web.

  • Can I file Reissue applications using EFS-Web?

    Yes, you may file design reissue and utlity reissue through EFS Web.

  • How is EFS-Web different from PASAT and EFS-ABX?

    Unlike USPTO's original electronic filing tool, PASAT, and its follow on, ABX, EFS-Web is not a patent application authoring tool, but simply a means allowing you to easily and quickly submit patent applications and related documents electronically as PDF attachments. You choose the tool, process and workflow with which you author your documents; the only requirement is that prior to submitting them via EFS-Web, you first convert them to PDF files.

  • What types of filings may I submit using EFS-Web?

    Registered and Unregistered eFilers may file new Accelerated Exam, Design, Design Reissue, International Application for filing in the US receiving office, Provisional, Reexam, Utility (Utility under 35 USC 111 (a)), Utility Reissue, U.S. National Stage applications under 35 USC 371, ASCII text files (sequence listing, computer listings, mega tables, mathematical formulae, chemical formulae, and 3D protein crystal structures), and Petition under 37 CFR 1.378(c). Registered eFilers may also file follow-on documents and/or fees for previously filed applications, and Pre-grant publications.

  • Is EFS-Web integrated with Private and Public PAIR?

    Yes. EFS-Web is integrated with Private and Public PAIR. By becoming a Registered e-filer (someone who has a Digital Certificate), EFS-Web submissions are available for viewing in Private PAIR within hours.

  • What is EFS-Web?

    EFS-Web is a web-based patent application and document submission solution that utilizes standard web-based screens and prompts to enable you to submit portable document format (PDF) files, ASCII text files, or a PCT-Easy Zip file directly to the USPTO.

  • What's the benefit to using EFS-Web?

    EFS-Web offers you the ability to file patent applications and other patent documents electronically in a fraction of the time and at substantially less cost than paper filings. You forgo printing, postage, courier costs, and you receive immediate notification that your submission has been received. Unlike paper filings, most new applications submitted electronically can be viewed in Private PAIR within an hour after filing.

  • How do I make a suggestion for an improvement of EFS-Web?

    E-mail EFS Feedback Mailbox at EFSFeedback@uspto.gov.

  • What is "PDX"?

    "PDX" stands for "Priority Document Exchange" which provides for the electronic transmission of priority documents to and from participating foreign Intellectual Property Offices (if applicant files a request and an authorization) without payment of a fee.

    The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) established agreements to obtain and provide priority documents with the European Patent Office (EPO) as of January 16, 2007, with the Japan Patent Office (JPO) as of July 28, 2007, with the Korean Intellectual Property Office (KIPO) as of October 14, 2008, and with the World

    Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) as of April 20, 2009.

    For more information regarding electronic priority document exchange between the USPTO and the WIPO see the PDX Web site at http://www.uspto.gov/web/patents/pdx/pdx.html.

  • How do I - view Outgoing Correspondence Notification(s)?

    View Outgoing Correspondence Notification(s) in Private PAIR requires the user have a USPTO issued PKI Certificate and a valid Customer Number. Expand menu for Search by Customer Number, then select View Outgoing Correspondence, and select search parameters.

    Results of View Outgoing Correspondence Notification(s): 

    A table displaying: 

    •Application Number 
    •Patent Number
    •Attorney Docket Number
    •Customer Number
    •Mailing Date
    •Image Date
    •Document Code
    •Document Description
    •Earliest Image View Date
    •Viewed By
    •Docketed

    If a document image is available, the “Document Description" will be underlined and provide a link to view the correspondence corresponding image. 

  • How do I - view Maintenance Fees?

    Maintenance Fee data is available Monday - Friday from 5:30 AM to Midnight E.T. and Saturdays, Sundays, and Holidays from 7:30 AM to 8:00 PM E.T. Information about maintenance fees may also be obtained through PAIR. Patentees and members of the public viewing this data should double check the information with the Maintenance Fee Division, before, for example, assuming that 'no fees to pay' means that all of the fees have been paid. Such a message may also appear if the period for payment of maintenance fee has expired and the patent has now expired.

    Maintenance Fees - Retrieve fees to pay provides information about unpaid maintenance fees and allows you to make your payment online by credit card, electronic funds transfer (EFT) or deposit account.

    Maintenance Fees - View payment windows provides information regarding maintenance fee due dates.

    Maintenance Statement - View ... year payment window provides information regarding maintenance fees previously paid for the payment year selected. When trying to view a statement, if the error message "no fees pending on finance" appears, the fee has not yet been paid. Use the Maintenance Fees - View payment windows search option to display the dates for the most recently due maintenance fee. If the most recent fee due has not been paid and the 'payment window closing date' has past, the patent is considered expired as of that 'closing date', with the exception of certain cases where a petition has been filed (recorded in the File History/Transaction History). If a petition has been filed and 'granted', the patent remains in tact but the maintenance fee statement will not be viewable because the fee was paid with the petition fee. Please refer to USPTO Office of Finance On-Line Shopping Page for further information.

  • How do I - search to determine if there is/was a reexamination for a patent?

    Retrieve the patent information from Public or Private PAIR by using the Patent Number search option. Then, select the "Continuity Data" tab or search option, and review the "Child Continuity Data." If a reexamination was requested for the patent or was ordered at the initiative of the USPTO, and is pending or concluded, then the reexamination proceeding(s) will be listed in the Child Continuity Data section and may be identified by the Control Number of the reexamination proceeding, which begins with "90" or "95", i.e., 95/000,000. Select the Control Number link to view information regarding the reexamination proceeding, such as the current status of the proceeding.

    Reexamination proceedings may also be searched directly in PAIR by using the Control Number search option.

    For additional information on reexamination proceedings, you may wish to review Patent Official Gazette Notices, or contact the Office of Patent Legal Administration, Central Reexamination Unit at (571) 272-7705.

  • How do changes to my Customer Number data affect my PCT applications?

    The customer number associated with a PCT application will be used only for Private PAIR access and will not be used for the correspondence address.  Therefore any changes to the customer number will not affect the PCT application.

  • How do I view or change the correspondence address and list of individuals associated with my customer number?

    From the Private PAIR search screen, select your customer number from the drop-down list below View Customer Number Details and click the Search button. 

    To submit a paper change request, click the "Request for Customer Number Data Change" link below the Customer Number Details screen to display and print PTO/SB/124A in PDF format. Use this paper form to mail or fax changes in the correspondence address or list of individuals associated with a Customer Number. Submit the completed form via fax to (703) 308-2840 or mail to: 

    USPTO 
    Mail Stop EBC 
    P.O. Box 1450 
    Alexandria, VA   22313

    To submit an online change request, click the "Request Data Changes" button below the Customer Number Details screen. This returns the Request Data Changes for Customer Number online form for changes to Customer Number Address, addition of individuals, or deletion of individuals from the Customer Number. 

  • How do I associate my applications with my customer number?

    To associate existing patent applications to a Customer Number, you can complete and submit the Customer Number Upload Spreadsheet located at http://www.uspto.gov/patents/process/file/efs/guidance/register.jspDownload the Customer Number Update Template and after filling out the MS Excel spreadsheet, save it on a USB Memory Stick or CD and mail it to the Patent EBC at

    USPTO
    Mail Stop EBC
    P.O. Box 1450
    Alexandria VA 22313

    Another method to associate an application to a customer number is to submit the Change of Correspondence Address form (SB/122) located at http://www.uspto.gov/web/forms/sb0122_fill.pdf.  Unlike the Customer Number Upload Spreadsheet where multiple applications/patents can be listed, the Change of Correspondence Address form can be used to only associate a single application to a customer number.  Only the customer number should be indicated on the SB/122 form with physical address left blank.  Customer number associations using the SB/122 form are processed by the Applications Assistants Unit or a Technology Center. The EBC processes the automated Upload Spreadsheet. 

    Using the spreadsheet to change the correspondence address and/or maintenance fee address on applications is a legal record of change. This spreadsheet MUST be accompanied by a cover letter signed by someone who, for each application or patent listed on the attached spreadsheet, is either: (1) the Pro Se applicant [definition in new window] , or the Sole Inventor, where there is not registered Patent Attorney or Agent of Record, or (2) an Attorney or Agent of Record.

    Note, however, a practitioner is not necessarily of record in an application when the practitioner is associated with a customer number and the customer number is associated with an application. A practitioner is only of record in an application when the power of attorney is given to the practitioner or to a list of practitioners associated with a customer number (and the practitioner is associated with the customer number).

  • What are my payment options when ordering a Certified copy of an Application as Filed or of the Image File Wrapper through Private PAIR??

    You may pay for your order by credit card (Visa, Master Card, American Express, or Discover), by USPTO deposit account, or by electronic fund transfer (EFT). For more information on these payment methods, visit the USPTO Office of Finance page - http://www.uspto.gov/about/offices/cfo/finance/index.jsp.  

  • Are Attorney Docket Number updates processed automatically?

    Yes, Attorney Docket Number updates are automatically processed.

  • What is the "Publication Review" option?

    The "Publication Review" button  appears in the Private PAIR and allows applicants to enter and submit Correction Requests to data shown on the Publication Review screen to match the data set forth in certain previously filed application papers. Correction Requests must be received earlier than fourteen (14) weeks prior to the projected publication date to be reflected in the patent application publication.  This screen cannot be used to submit Correction Requests in applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 371 (i.e., national stage applications).  This screen also cannot accept special characters, e.g., umlauts.  Additional information can be found here: http://www.uspto.gov/patents/process/status/private_pair/pub_review_instructions.jsp

  • Is the information I am viewing in PAIR current?

    Yes! The information in PAIR is real-time status information.

  • What type of applications can I view in PAIR?

    Public PAIR: provides access to public applications including: patents, published applications, and applications to which a patented or published application claims domestic priority. PCT applications that have not been published by WIPO and any applications that have not been released by the USPTO Licensing and Review Board will not be viewable in Public PAIR. Prosecution history and document images for Chapter II are not viewable in Public PAIR.

    Private PAIR: Any applications you associate with your Customer Number, including pending, non-published PCT applications (as of 16DEC2006), except any applications that have not been released by the USPTO Licensing and Review Board.

  • What is PAIR?

    PAIR is the Patent Application Information Retrieval system that displays information regarding patent application status. There is both a Public and Private side to PAIR. “Public PAIR” provides access to issued or published patent applications. To access Public PAIR, you need only have a patent, application, publication, or PCT number that you wish to search. “Private PAIR” provides secure real-time access to unpublished applications using digital certificates issued from the USPTO's Public Key Infrastructure. Private PAIR allows provides access to all application information that is available in Public PAIR. To access Private PAIR, you must:

    • - be a registered patent attorney/agent, an Independent Inventor, or a person granted limited recognition,
      - have a customer number,
      - have a digital PKI certificate to secure the transmission of the application to the USPTO

    >> see the Patent EBC - New Users for information on accessing Private PAIR