Patent policy

IP Policy and international affairs: Patent Policy

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) provides policy leadership, advocacy, and technical and trade expertise in domestic and international patent and patent-related intellectual property (IP) rights. This includes regular representation of the U.S. government in bilateral and multilateral intellectual property and trade negotiations including representation at the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the five IP offices (IP5), the Industrial Design Forum (ID5), and the International Union for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV). 

Patent and patent-related policy encompasses a number of areas that are critical to responding to the many patent-related domestic and international issues that face U.S. rights holders. These include:

  • Domestic patent and patent-related policy issues as they relate to international obligations, foreign law and practice, as well as the development of U.S. practice and jurisprudence.
  • Treaty negotiation and monitoring the enforcement of patent-related international treaty provisions.
  • U.S. implementation of and adherence with international treaty obligations relating to patents, industrial designs, plant and plant varieties, and trade secret and regulatory data protection.
  • Technical assistance and training on patent-related matters for both U.S. and foreign officials.

Some of the key patent and patent-related international agreements the USPTO helped develop, negotiate, and continues to monitor and advance include the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), Patent Law Treaty (PLT), and the Hague Agreement Concerning the International Registration of Industrial Designs. For further information on these treaties and related issues, please visit the links below.

For information about patents basics and applying for a patent, visit the USPTO’s Patent Basics webpage.

Patent policy initiatives

While rooted in constitutional foundations, U.S. patent policy and practices continue to evolve to keep pace with innovation. Some current initiatives are highlighted below:

Areas of focus

The USPTO is a key agency in providing IP policy expertise, advice, and guidance to the administration on a variety of subjects, including the key innovation-related topics below.


The USPTO actively engages with counterpart governments and IP offices through the forums listed below.


Subscribe to receive news about IP policy and international affairs

Interested in keeping informed about the latest developments in IP policy and international affairs at the USPTO? Subscribe to receive IP Policy Alerts by email:


Questions about the content of this page may be directed to the USPTO’s Office of Policy and International Affairs at