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Intellectual Property Law and Policy

The USPTO is committed to promoting awareness of and providing leadership in the area of Intellectual Property Law and Policy. Two offices involved with IP law and policy within the USPTO are the Office of Policy and External Affairs and the Office of the General Counsel.  

The Office of Policy and External Affairs is vested with the responsibility of intellectual property policy and enforcement and leads efforts to strengthen both domestic and international intellectual property protection. These responsibilities include the formulation of legislative and policy proposals for the USPTO, international treaty development and support for trade agreements, training programs for international intellectual property protection and enforcement personnel, and public awareness outreach. The office is comprised of the Office of Intellectual Property Policy and Enforcement, Office of the Chief Economist and the Office of Governmental Affairs. 

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

Strategy for Targeting Organized Piracy "STOP"

HOTLINE: 1-866-999-HALT
8:30 a.m. -- 5:00 p.m. EST Monday-Friday

IMPORTANT: If you need assistance at any time with matters other than STOP (patents, trademarks or other USPTO programs), please call: 1-800-786-9199 or visit our USPTO Contact Center for other phone numbers, e-mail and regular mailing instructions.


The Office of the General Counsel consists of five organizations that are concerned with legal review of agency decisions, defense of agency decisions in court and administrative tribunals, internal agency legal advice, and regulation of persons practicing before the USPTO. These five organizations are the Office of the Solicitor, the Office of General Law, and the Office of Enrollment and Discipline (OED).  The OGC also manages the USPTO's Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) program. 

Public Notices, Legislation and Rulemaking

Significant Guidance Documents:

For further information on Significant Guidance Documents and how to send a request, comment, or complaint click here.

Website Disclosures:

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Last Modified: 2/20/2013 11:57:59 AM