Inventors Assistance Center


The Inventors Assistance Center (IAC) provides patent assistance and information to the public. The IAC is staffed by former supervisory patent examiners and primary examiners who are available to answer questions and to help you make filing a patent application simple and efficient.

What the IAC can do for you

  • Answer general questions regarding patent examining policy.
  • Answer questions concerning necessary formats and items needed for your patent application.
  • Assist you with forms needed and with filling out the forms.
  • Provide you with general information concerning patent examining rules, procedures, drawings and fees.
  • Send you patenting information and forms via email, USPS mail or facsimile.
  • Direct your calls to appropriate USPTO personnel or webpages, as necessary.

Online resources


Questions and Answers


Contact the IAC

  • Hours:       Monday – Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. ET, except federal holidays
  • Toll-free:   800-PTO-9199 (800-786-9199)
  • Local:        571-272-1000
  • TDD/TTY customers can dial 800-877-8339 for customer assistance

Upon dialing either of the above telephone numbers, you will first reach an automated information system. Often, the information sought can be obtained without speaking to an IAC representative. If you do not find the necessary information using the automated information system, your call will be forwarded to a USPTO Contact Center (UCC) Customer Service Representative (CSR). The UCC CSR can provide answers to basic, non-technical questions and transfer calls to the IAC as necessary. So that we may assist all of our customers, we ask that you limit your calls to a reasonable length of time. A review of the materials available by mail or on the USPTO web site prior to your call will make your questions more meaningful and should provide the IAC staff with a better opportunity to properly answer your questions.

  • The IAC will not be staffed during federal holidays. When the USPTO closes early (for example, due to weather conditions) the IAC will also cease operations.
  • Operating status for the Washington, D.C., area

You may direct specific questions regarding how to use the Patent Electronic Business Systems to electronically file applications or seek electronic filing status information to the Patent EBC Customer Service Center.

Disclaimer: The IAC provides you with useful information and non-legal patents advice. The IAC cannot give an opinion as to whether an invention is patentable, conduct patent searches or other intellectual property research, or provide specific line-by-line completion of forms (but can provide direction). Patent statutes and regulations should be consulted before attempting to apply for a patent. These laws and the application process can be complicated. If you have intellectual property that could be patented, the use of an attorney or agent who is qualified to represent you in the USPTO is advised.