A search of issued patents is recommended to be sure that someone else has not already patented the idea. Even if you invented it on your own, someone somewhere may already have the same invention. You cannot assume your invention has never been patented even if you have not seen it on the market. Collections of patents and patent-related materials may be examined online or at via a local Patent & Trademark Resource Center (PTRC). You may find a list of PTRCs online. The Patent & Trademark Resource Center (PTRC) at the Free Library of Philadelphia is located in the Business Resource & Innovation Center (BRIC) on the 2nd Floor of the Parkway Central Library at 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103.
The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has the following online guides to help you file your patent application for the three different types of U.S. patents:
The Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) allows you to fill out an application form and submit it electronically.
Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office homepage
The cost for a patent varies by type of patent, whether the applicant is a micro entity (typically an individual inventor) small entity (nonprofit organization, or a small business concern) or a corporation, and several other factors. For a utility patent, the basic filing fee, the issue fee, and the maintenance fees during the patent term would total approximately $4,000 for a micro entity. Charges for design and plant patents are slightly lower. Fees are subject to change each year. A current list of fees is available online from the USPTO.
The USPTO has published a current list of Trademark fees online from the USPTO homepage.
The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office has a General Information Concerning Patents section that can help answer any additional questions you have concerning the patent process. You can also make an appointment with our Patent & Trademark Librarian who can demonstrate patent & trademark searching techniques at the Free Library of Philadelphia/Parkway Central Library/BRIC at 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103. (The librarian is not able to search for your actual patent or trademark, or give legal advice, however.) To make an appointment with the librarian, click here.
You may access the Trademark Process section of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office. It will answer additional questions you may have concerning trademarks. You can also make an appointment with our Patent & Trademark Librarian who can demonstrate patent & trademark searching techniques at the Free Library of Philadelphia/Parkway Central Library/BRIC at 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103. (The librarian is not able to search for your actual patent or trademark, or give legal advice, however.) To make an appointment with the librarian, click here.
You can access trademark forms, plus information about applying for a trademark on the How do I file a Trademark Application? page of the U.S. Patent & Trademark site. You can file electronically at the USPTO website or you can contact the Trademark Assistance Center at 1-800-786-9199 for a paper application to be mailed to you. Please note: the USPTO charges an extra fee for paper applications.
The Patent & Trademark Office homepage is http://www.uspto.gov .
Source: United States Patent and Trademark Office homepage
The patent application process is complex and the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) does not assist in the preparation of application papers. While hiring a lawyer is not required, the USPTO strongly advises prospective applicants to engage the services of a patent attorney or agent. The USPTO maintains a file of approximately 45,000 attorneys and agents registered to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. This list is available online from the USPTO.
Although it may be desirable to employ an attorney who is familiar with trademark matters, it is not required. You may access the trademark forms, plus information about applying for a trademark, by clicking Basic Facts About Registering a Trademark. While applying online is less expensive, you can apply by mail on paper (for an additional fee) by calling General Information Services Division at 1-800-786-9199 (1-800-PTO-9199) or 571-272-1000, and select option 2 to request paper forms be mailed to you.
Many applicants find it beneficial to search word or logo trademarks (to see if there are any registered, pending, or previously used marks) before filing a trademark application. You can search the USPTO trademark databases on the internet here either on your home computer or at any Free Library of Philadelphia location.
If you need to locate an attorney specializing in trademark law, local bar associations and the Yellow Pages usually have attorney listings broken down by specialties.
A patent is granted by the Government to an inventor "to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States" for a period of 20 years. Some persons occasionally confuse patents, copyrights and trademarks. Although there may be some resemblance in the rights of these three kinds of intellectual property, they are different and serve different purposes. For the differences between these three types of Intellectual Property, click here. Abstract ideas, a mere idea or suggestion, or printed matter cannot be patented.
This link details the different types of patent applications.
Utility and plant patents are granted for a term which begins on the date of the grant and ends 20 years from the date the patent application was first filed. Design patents are granted for a term of 15 years from the date of the grant. A patent holder loses exclusive rights to the invention when the term expires or when periodic maintenance fees are not paid.
No. You can establish rights in a trademark based on legitimate use of the mark. However, federal registration has advantages, such as:
To acquire trademark and/or service mark registration at the state level, applicants must file an application with the trademark office of the specific state in which protection is sought. For information about state registration requirements, applicants must contact the individual state trademark office. Link to directory of state trademark databases.
The Pennsylvania Corporation Bureau has compiled online information about registering a trademark in Pennsylvania, including the forms. To view the information please click here .
Ownership of a patent gives the patent owner the right to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, selling, or importing into the United States the invention claimed in the patent. A patent or patent application is assignable by an instrument in writing, and the assignment of the patent, or patent application, transfers to the assignee(s) an alienable (transferable) ownership interest in the patent or application.
Yes, the US Patent & Trademark Office site has full-text and image databases of patents issued since 1790 and patent applications
Librarians at a Patent & Trademark Resource Center (PTRC) can show you the patent & trademark resources available and get you started with your search. But in general, the PTRC staff cannot do searches for you, make subjective decisions, or provide legal advice. If need be, you can consult with a registered patent attorney or agent. You can view a list of attorneys and agents registered to practice before the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office online .
Yes, the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) is available online to perform trademark and service mark searches. Click on "SEARCH Trademark Database" in the center section of the Trademarks site.
A specimen is a real-world example of how the mark is actually used on the goods or in the offer of services. Labels, tags, or containers for the goods are considered to be acceptable specimens of use for a trademark. For a service mark, specimens may be advertising such as a website, magazine advertisements or brochures. Actual specimens, rather than facsimiles, are preferred. However, if the actual specimens are bulky, or larger than 8½" x 11", then the applicant must submit facsimiles, (e.g., photographs or good photocopies in .jpg or .pdf format) of the specimens. Facsimiles may not exceed 8½" x 11". ONE SPECIMEN IS REQUIRED FOR EACH CLASS OF GOODS OR SERVICES SPECIFIED IN THE APPLICATION.
A Trademark is a word, phrase, symbol, or design, or combination of words, phrases, symbols, or designs which identifies and distinguishes the source of the goods or services of one party from those of others.
A Service Mark is the same as a trademark except that it identifies and distinguishes the source of a service to both trademarks and service marks whether they are word marks or other types of marks.
Normally a mark for goods appears on the product or its packaging, while a service mark appears in advertising for the services.
A trademark is different from a patent or copyright. A patent protects an invention, while a copyright protects an original artistic or literary work. For copyright information call the Library of Congress at (202) 707-3000.