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 You may perform preliminary searches of patent information on the USPTO web site at

USPTO FAQ - Questions and Answers (08DEC2004)