The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) contains a wealth of information but the challenge is finding the information you need.

The UIA knows what a goldmine of information and assistance the USPTO provides independent inventors and have compiled a few helpful links that are useful for any new and novice inventor starting out.

A GREAT starting place for inventors is the USPTO Inventor and Entrepreneur Resourcespage. The USPTO has grouped all kinds of information useful for you here.

USPTO Patent Search and Filing Assistance

Whether or not you decide to pursue IP protection you should at minimum do a preliminary patent search for a couple of reasons:

  1. You need to know whether a patent has ever been issued for your invention, don’t rely on the fact that you have never seen it on a store shelf because the USPTO has issued over 10 million patents and not all of them make it to market. If a patent was ever issued you will not be able to seek patent protection even if it was 100 years ago. If the product is still under patent protection you will not be able to bring your product to market without infringing on the issued patent.
  2. You need to know what has already been patented, very few inventions are what is called “disruptive technology” and you will likely find something similar to yours, so it is best to be aware before you move forward.

Click Here to find existing patents, published patent applications and other published patent documentation.  The USPTO has also prepared a 7-Step US Patent Strategy Guide to help you navigate their system.

The Inventors Assistance Center (IAC) provides patent information and services to the public. The IAC is staffed by former supervisory patent examiners, experienced primary patent examiners, various intellectual property specialists, and attorneys who can answer general questions concerning patent examining policy and procedure. Click Here for IAC contact info.

You can also go to a Patent and Trademark Resource Center located throughout the US.  While they don’t do the search for you, they are skilled in patent search and can provide guidance. Click Here to view center locations.

Wondering what forms should you use to file for a patent? Click Here to find Patent Application Forms

And a big question how much does the USPTO charge me for a patent. Click Here to find out what it costs to file for Intellectual Property Rights.

Don’t like to use online resources? No problem!  You can also contact the USPTO for general information via phone 1-800-786-9199.

We hope you find these resources and links as helpful as we do, and thanks USPTO, for being such a helpful resource to independent inventors!