A patent is an intellectual property right granted by the Government of the United States of America 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 limited time in exchange for public disclosure of the invention when the patent is granted. (USPTO)
Three types of patents:
- Utility Patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers a new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.
- Design Patents may be granted to anyone who invents a new, original and ornamental design for an article of manufacture.
- Plant Patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers and asexually produces any distinct and new variety of plant.
See the Patent Basics page on the USPTO website for more information.
Search for a Patent
Knowing if an invention is patentable is the first step in obtaining a patent. A thorough search of of all previous public disclosures (prior art) including, but not limited to previously patented inventions in the U.S. and foreign countries should be conducted. Find a patent attorney or search for patents on the USPTO website.
Additional resources for patent searches include Google Patents, and the European Patent Office.
A Trademark or Trade Mark is a type of intellectual property, and typically a name, word, phrase, logo, symbol, design, image, or a combination of these elements.
A trademark is a distinctive sign or indicator used by an individual, business organization, or other legal entity to identify that the products or services to consumers with which the trademark appears originate from a unique source, and to distinguish its products or services from those of other entities.
See the Trademark Basics page on the USPTO website for more information.
Copyright is the set of exclusive rights granted to the author or creator of an original work, including the right to copy, distribute and adapt the work. See the Copyright in General page on the U.S. Copyright Office's website for more information.
File for Copyright
File a copyright registration for your work through the U.S. Copyright Office Registration Portal. If infringement is of particular concern, you may also preregister your work with the Copyright Office. (Note: Preregistration is not a substitute for registration, nor is it necessary for most works.) Please read each of these pages carefully for more information.
Patent Forms, Classification Codes, & Patent Searches
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Resources
- Electronic Business Center
Submit patent applications online.
- Laws, Regulations, Policies, Procedures, Guidance, and Training
Visit this page for up-to-date information about patent rules and laws.
- Classification Standards and Development
U.S. patents are classified according to a three digit class and three digit subclass system. (A single invention may be described by multiple classification codes.) Visit this page further details about the U.S. patent classification system, including a complete list of classifications.
- Patent Forms
Visit this page for a list of downloadable patent forms.
- Search for Patents
Inventors are encouraged to search the USPTO’s patent database to determine if a patent has been taken of if a similar patent has already been granted.
More Patent Search Tools
- Google Patents
Search the full text of US Patents.
- European Patent Office
Visit this page to search for patents registered in European Countries.
Trademark Process, Application & Filing
U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Resources
- Trademark Process
Refer to this page for detailed, step-by-step description of the trademark process.
- Apply Online for a Trademark
See this page for lists and descriptions of trademark filing forms.
Oklahoma Secretary of State Resources
- Trademark Filing
Search for registered state trademarks, register a new state trademark, and download forms.
Copyright Resources on the Web
Refer to these resources for more information on copyright:
- Copyright Clearance Center
Visit this page for copyright basics and assistance with licensing of copyrighted works.
- Copyright Crash Course by University of Texas Libraries
This guide covers the basics of copyright.
- Copyright & Fair Use by Stanford University Libraries This guide emphasizes copyright issues relevant to education and libraries, and includes examples of Fair Use.
- Copyright Term and the Public Domain in the United States by Cornell University
This guide provides a timeline for when previously copyrighted works pass into the public domain.
- NOLO Copyright Law
This page includes basic information about copyright, Fair Use, registration and licensing