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

USPTO FAQ - Questions and Answers (14AUG2003)