The PTO Public Search Facility is currently closed to the public and classes are unavailable. A reopening date has not been determined, but when a date becomes available, it will be posted on this location. However, we are responding to phone calls and messages at 571-272-3275. Questions or concerns can also be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Public Search Facility
The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) Public Search Facility (PSF) located in Alexandria, VA provides public access to patent and trademark information in a variety of formats including online, microfilm, and print. Trained staff are available to assist public users.
State of the art computer workstations provide automated searching of patents issued from 1790 to the current week of issue using the patent examiner systems Web-based Examiner Search Tool, (WEST) and Examiner Automated Search Tool (EAST), the USPTO website, and other related applications. Full document text may be searched on U.S. patents issued since 1971 and OCR text from 1920 to 1970. U. S. patent images from 1790 to the present may be retrieved for viewing or printing. Some foreign patent documents may be searched using EAST and WEST. Official Gazettes, Annual Indexes (of Inventors), the U.S. Patents Quarterly (USPQ), the Manual of Classification and its subject matter index, and other search aids are available in various formats.
Patent assignment records of transactions affecting the ownership of patents, and microfilmed deeds are also available.
Online searching of pending, registered, and dead trademarks is available using the trademark examining automated search systems X-Search, Trademark Image Capture System (TICRS), the Trademark Reporting and Monitoring System (TRAM), and the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board VUE (TTABVUE). A complete trademark registration collection is available online. A collection of bound paper volumes in numerical order to July 12, 2018, is also available. Official Gazettes, trademark assignment records of transactions affecting trademark ownership and microfilmed deeds are also available.
Hours of operation
Entry to the USPTO Public Search Facility in Alexandria, VA requires a previously obtained user badge only issued Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Research assistance also is only offered between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Access to the workstations is allowed by establishing a public user account at the Reference Desk at the entrance of the facility. The form below can be filed out and brought to the PSF as well but must be signed in front of a PSF staff member upon arrival.
OLAC Public User Form
Self-service access is permitted between the hours of 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday to those that already have a previously issued user badge. The facility is closed on weekends and Federal Holidays. Refer to the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) web site for current Washington area federal government operating status information.
Rules of conduct in USPTO facilities (e.g., FIU, PSF, STIC)
Conduct in Public Information Facilities (05/11) [PDF-62KB]
Parking in Alexandria
Daily and hourly parking is available on a first-come, first-served basis in the East Garage from 5 a.m. to 10:30 p.m., Monday to Friday, except federal holidays. Use the John Carlyle St. entrance only. The parking garage is locked at 10:30 p.m.
Customers can obtain a ticket each time they enter the garage and will pay each time they leave the garage at one of the pay stations in the area. Lost tickets will pay a maximum daily rate. Daily customers may pay in cash or by credit card (no checks).
Metro directions to Alexandria facility
The King St. station is served by yellow and blue line trains. The Eisenhower Ave. station is served by yellow line trains. The Public Search Facility is at the lobby level of the Madison East Building in the center of the complex. The Public Search Facility entrance would be on the left if entering the Madison Building from the Dulany Street entrance.
SMART card ID badges are required to pass through security access checkpoints in the Public Search Facility. Badges are obtained from the USPTO Security Service Center in room 1C51 on the lobby level of the Madison East building at the Alexandria campus from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Visitors must present a valid photo ID to be issued an access badge. Daily passes are not issued for the Public Search Facility after 5 p.m.
Trained Staff are available to assist users with questions during the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday except for Federal Holidays. Self-service access is permitted between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Online Service Accounts
Online Service Accounts are used to access online systems. These may be obtained at the Public Search Facility General Reference Desk upon a user's first visit between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. A valid government issued photo ID, such as a driver's license with a current address, must be provided to verify user information. An information form (OLAC Public User Form) must be completed and signed in front of the Public Search Facility staff to create an account.
There are no fees for use of automated systems.
Online print fees of $0.25 per page, $0.50 per page from color printers, are collected at the workstation via online UPWS accounts.
Funds may be added to online accounts at the Trademark Assistance Center (TAC) Cashier Window between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Checks, credit cards, and USPTO deposit accounts are accepted. We do not accept cash.
Training is recommended before patrons use the online search systems. See the training schedule below or call 571-272-3275.
To enroll in a class, public users may apply in person at the Public Search Facility, by mail or by email to email@example.com.
Complete the training registration form (see links below) indicating your first and second choice of class dates. You will be notified of your confirmed class date.
Mail class registration form to:
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
ATTN: PSF Public Training
Alexandria, VA 22313-1450
Arrive one half-hour before class to obtain an Online Service Card and password at the Public Search Facility in Alexandria. Bring a photo ID with your current home address, such as a driver's license or a passport.
Examiner Assisted Search Tool (EAST)
The EAST patent class is a fast-paced course for users with online database and Boolean logic experience. Text searching using indexes and the use of the browser screen for rapid patent retrieval. This is a four-hour class given once a month.
You may also wish to review an introductory online training package about EAST by linking to: The EAST Training Package.
X-Search is the automated search and retrieval system for U.S. Trademark text and/or designs. The X-Search class is recommended, but not mandatory, before accessing the trademark system. This is a three-hour class given according to the schedule listed below.
Training schedule for 2020
Total of Classes
Public user training is held at the Alexandria campus. Please report to the Public Search Facility in Madison East one half-hour before class so you may obtain an Online Service Card and password.
Patent and Trademark Resource Centers
The nationwide network of Patent and Trademark Resource Centers (PTRCs) offer access to patent and trademark reference materials and search tools. Trained staff are available to assist public users.
To locate a PTRC near you, visit the USPTO web site at PTRC Program page or call 800-786-9199.
Patent and trademark data is searchable on the internet without coming to the USPTO campus. See the USPTO website at www.uspto.gov.
The patent database has patent images from 1790 to the current week of issue retrievable by patent number and current U.S. Patent Classification, and text searchable from 1975 to the current issue week.
Public PAIR (Patent Application and Information Retrieval) offers access to approximately 500,000 patent applications not covered by confidentiality laws. New applications are added to the database 18 months after filing. See our PAIR Portal.
Track the status of a public patent application as it moves from publication to final disposition, and review documents in the official application file, including all patent examiner decisions. A quick-click feature for ordering certified copies of patent applications and application files is included on the site.
The Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) contains pending, registered, and dead trademarks. See TESS.