In the complicated world of applying for patents and trademarks, there are many questions that cannot be answered on Google. The United States Patent and Trademark Office offers numerous regional patent offices, resource centers, call-support lines, classes, and databases to help you through this process. Let’s look at the available sources of assistance and determine which ones can help you accomplish your intellectual property goals. If you are already familiar with these regional patent offices or know that you will need additional, personalized help that these offices can’t give you… give us a call! (858) 367-3642.
Regional Patent Offices and Trademark Resource Centers
A Patent and Trademark Resource Center, or PTRC, offers free resources to inventors or small businesses that are seeking guidance with the patenting or trademark processes. These are essentially state, city, and university libraries, in a partnership with the USPTO. All of these libraries employ at least one PTRC expert. These individuals are knowledgeable in patent and trademark search engines–including PubEAST and PubWEST–which can be used to research patents issued from 1790 to the current week.
These experts can also assist you in finding existing patents and trademarks. They also boast directories of local patent attorneys. Intellectual property classes are even offered at most of these PTRCs. If you are unsure where to start with your preliminary patent or trademark research, visiting a PTRC would be a good first step. Below is a list and map with all of the United States locations. For more information on individual offices, click here.
Public Search Facility
The USPTO Public Search Facility is a single resource center in Alexandria, Virginia that specializes purely in researching patent and trademark information. Both low and high-level classes are offered for mastering intellectual property search tools including PubEAST, PubWEST, and X-Search.
If your main intent is to research and gather intel on patents or trademarks, we recommend you take advantage of this facility. However, if you have a larger range of needs–or you are not inclined to travel to Virginia–try one of the other resource and assistance centers. Find out more here.
Inventors Assistance Center
The Inventors Assistance Center is primarily focused on patent guidance. The IAC is made up of former patent examiners, intellectual property specialists, and attorneys who are willing to help with simple patent examination questions. This is not a physical facility, it is essentially a phone-call resource center. However, down the road you may need to be prepared to protect the IP you are applying for. Learn more about how we can help when someone uses your protected intellectual property.
The experts here can help you with filling out your first patent application, providing guidance with the complicated forms and documents that have confused many patent-applicants. They are open 8:30 AM-8:00 PM, Monday through Friday. Click here for more information, or simply call the IAC at their toll-free number: (800-786-9199).
Trademark Assistance Center
The Trademark Assistance Center is the same as the IAC, but their staff are experts in trademark topics. They can answer questions regarding trademark literature and publications, how to effectively register a trademark, documentation procedures, and more. There are three methods of contact.
Call the TAC’s toll-free number: (800-786-9199), which is available 8:30 AM-8:00 PM, Monday through Friday. Email them: TrademarkAssistanceCenter@uspto.gov. Or, visit their information window (no appointment required) at Concourse level, Madison East Building 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, Virginia. For more information click here.
Patent Electronic Business Center
You can call or email the Patent Electronic Business Center for your electronic patent application questions. There are advantages to submitting your patent application online, including the fact that it is usually a faster process. However, without human guidance, it can be a challenge. For assistance, call these experts at their toll-free number, (1-866-217-9197) or email them: firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information, click here.
Now what? Assistance with Regional Patent Offices
If you are seeking in-depth patent and trademark search help, head to the USPTO Public Search Facility for hands-on instruction or reach out to our IP experts to help you navigate the process. If you require basic patent and trademark advice on a mix of topics, try one of over 50 Patent and Trademark Resource Centers. If you are just starting your patent or trademark journey, these libraries are the places to go.
If you are seeking help applying for a patent via physical forms, call the Inventors Assistance Center. If you are seeking help applying for a patent online, call the Patent Electronic Business Center. If you are seeking help applying for a trademark, call the Trademark Assistance Center. Simple enough!
All these resources are free and are intended to help inventors and small businesses accomplish their goals. None of these centers offer legal advice or technical assistance. And, because of the difficulty in having patents approved, many of our clients are people who spent a large amount of time without gaining traction on their application – even with these services.
So, if you are also in that boat, reach out to our team at GHB Intellect and get an intellectual property consulting firm that can help you succeed using these proven services. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions regarding patents or trademarks!