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Patents & Trademarks

Photo of a US patent.

The Indianapolis Public Library is a Patent and Trademark Resource Center. We receive materials from the United States Patent and Trademark Office. These resources include help guides, videos, search software, and the full text of United States patents.

Web Sites

Getting Started with Patents and Trademarks

Patent Process Overview
This section of the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) website provides a detailed 8 step overview of the patent process.

Trademark Process Overview
The USPTO’s 6 step overview of how to file a trademark.

Patent Search Tutorials

7-Step U.S. Patent Search Strategy GuideThis guide demonstrates how to identify Cooperative Patent Classification (CPC) codes, how to search PatFT, and broaden a patent search.

How to Conduct a Preliminary U.S. Patent Search
These slides from the USPTO explain in more detail how to conduct patent searching.

Public and Free Patent Search Resources

This resource is provided by the European Patent Office (EPO). U.S. and worldwide patents can be searched using this tool. Espacenet has information about inventions dating back to 1836.

Google Patents
This search engine is great for beginning a patent search and contains patent information dating back to 1790. Patent documents found in this resource should also be searched in PatFT/AppFT or Espacenet to make sure the most current versions have been located.

These are the official databases of the USPTO. PatFT contains full text U.S. Patents from 1976-Present. Patents issued prior to 1976 can only be searched by issue date, patent number, and current U.S. classification. AppFT contains full text patent applications from March 2001-Present.

This resource contains information on U.S. patents from 1976-Present, U.S. Applications from 2001-Present, and patent information from the EPO, World Intellectual Property Organization, and some Australian patent documents.

This is a search tool that is available only inside Central Library. PubEAST is also used by patent examiners at the USPTO in Alexandria, Virginia. This resource provides access to all patents issued in the U.S. and applications issued since March 2001.

Public and Free Trademark Search Engines

The Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) can be used to search federally registered trademarks.

The state of Indiana’s database can be searched to see if a trademark/service mark is being used by anyone locally.

Other Trademark Resources

Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure (TMEP)
The TMEP can be used to learn about and search for the practices and procedures the USPTO follows pertaining to trademarks.

Trademark ID Manual
Trademark applicants can add an international class number to their application for an identified good and/or service. The trademark ID manual allows you to search for the correct number. These international class numbers can be used to search for trademarks in TESS as well.

Design Search Code Manual
Each image or design that is trademarked is assigned a design code. These trademarked designs are categorized by a six-digit number. This manual can be used to identify a code to search in TESS.

Virtual Training

Patent, Trademark, and Intellectual Property Training
The USPTO offers free virtual training sessions from their headquarters in Alexandria, Virginia and through their regional offices across the country. Entrepreneurs, inventors, and people with a general interest in intellectual property are encouraged to sign up and participate in these free online sessions, which are scheduled throughout the year.

Request an Appointment

A library staff member can provide a demonstration on how to conduct patent and trademark research and help connect you to information related to intellectual property. Call the library at 317-275-4100, press 4 from the list of extensions, and ask to speak with the Patent and Trademark Resource Center Representative or patent librarian to schedule an appointment.

The library cannot conduct legal research for you or provide any legal advice. Consult an attorney if you need this type of assistance.

Attorney Searches

Find a Patent Practitioner
This website link allows users to search for attorneys or other registered individuals who are eligible to represent and file patent applications on behalf of inventors before the USPTO.

Need help? Ask a Library staff member at any of our locations or call, text or email Ask-a-Librarian.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

I've heard of invention marketing fraud, but how can I protect myself?

For more information visit the National Inventor Fraud Center.

Is there a Local Inventors Club?

The Indiana Inventors Association is a group whose members are inventors, engineers, small business owners and others. They publish an informative monthly newsletter which offers interesting articles along with the announcement of the program for the next monthly membership meeting. These educational programs about inventing, patenting, marketing, venture capital, etc. are dinner meetings held the first Tuesday of each month at 6:30.