Patent & Trademark Resource Center

pile of legal forms and stamps that say, 'copyright' and 'legal' Patent & Trademark Resource Center logo

Trademark & Patent Research Assistance

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library is a Patent and Trademark Resouce Center (PTRC). PTRCs are a nationwide network of public, state and academic libraries designated by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to support the public with trademark and patent research assistance.

Upcoming Events from the USPTO

What We Can Do

  • Access to resources such as PubWEST, databases for searching patents
    • PubWest – The public version of the Web-based Examiner’s Search Tool offers a server-based application tool for searching patent full-text and abstract databases. PubWEST is available at the King Library in SJPL Works during open hours. Please see staff for assistance with logging in.
  • Direct you to information and explain the application process and fee schedule
  • Demonstrate how to use search tools to conduct a patent or trademark search
  • Show you a directory of local patent attorneys who are licensed to practice before the USPTO
  • Classes on intellectual property
  • Assistance on how to do historical research patents and trademarks
  • Show you how to track current research by company or nonprofit

What We Can't Do

  • Conduct a patent/trademark search for you
  • Suggest words to use in your search
  • Give an opinion about your invention
  • Interpret USPTO rules
  • Fill out forms on your behalf
  • Offer legal advice of any kind

Useful Links

Patent Information

What is a patent?

According to the USPTO, “A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the inventor, issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. Generally, the term of a new patent is 20 years from the date on which the application for th patent was filed in the United States or, in special cases, from the date an earlier related application was filed, subject to the payment of maintenance fees. U.S. patent grants are effective only within the United States, U.S. territories, and U.S. possessions. Under certain circumstances, patent term extensions or adjustments may be available.

The right conferred by the patent grant is, in the language of the statute and of the grant itself, “the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling” the invention in the United States or “importing” the invention into the United States. What is granted is not the right to make, use, offer for sale, sell or import, but the right to exclude others from making, using offering for sale, selling or importing the invention. Once a patent is issued, the patentee must enforce the patent without aid of the USPTO.”

Basic Patent Information

U.S. Patent Searching Helpful Links

U.S. Patent Search Tools

Foreign Patent Search Tools

Additional Web Resouces

Trademark Information

What is a trademark?

According to the USPTO, “A trademark is generally a word, phrase, symbol or design, or a combination thereof, that identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods of one party from those of others.”

Basic Trademark Information

U.S. Trademark Search Tools

International Trademark Search Tool

Copyright Information

What is a copyright?

According to the United States Copyright Office, a copyright is “a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States for “original works of authorship”, including literary, dramatic, musical, architectural, cartographic, choreographic, pantomimic, pictorial, graphic, sculptural, and audiovisual creations.” Copyrights cover both published and unpublished works.

Basic Copyright Information