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Patent Information

What is a Patent?

"A patent is a document issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that grants a monopoly for a limited period of time on the use and developemnt of an invention which the USPTO finds to qualify for patent protection."¹

The U.S. Patent Office issues three main types of patents:

  • Utility: This is the main type of patent issued. It is granted for something new or improved in an electrical, mechanical or chemical invention.
  • Design: The design patent protects only the ornamental appearance of an article of manufacture.
  • Plant: This type of patent applies to new varieties of botanical plants invented or discovered and asexually reproduced.

How many U.S. patents does Reference Services have?

Here's a list of the types of patnents and patents we have in the department:

  • U.S. Patent Specifications and Drawings - 1790 TO DATE
  • U.S. Design Patents - 1842 TO DATE
  • U.S. Plant Patents - 1931 TO DATE
  • U.S. Official Gazette - 1872 TO DATE
  • Index to U.S. Patent Classification - LATEST
  • Manual of Classification - LATEST
  • Classification Definitions - LATEST
  • Annual Index of Patents and Annual Report of the Commission - 1892 TO DATE
  • Manual of Patent Examining Procedure - LATEST
  • 35 USC Patents, Laws - LATEST
  • 37 CFR Patents, Trademarks, Copyrights - LATEST
  • Patent Attorneys and Agents Registered - LATEST

Does Reference Services have any foreign patents?

Here's a list of foreign patents in the department:

  • United Kingdom Old Law Patents - 1617 TO 1981
  • United Kingdom New Law Applications - 1979 TO DATE
  • Patent Cooperation Treaty Applicant's Guide - LATEST

Where can I find more information?

The US Patent & Trademark Office's website has plenty of information, try taking a look at the following links.

¹ Elias, Stephen. Patent, Copyright & Trademark. p. 186. Nolo Press, 1997.