General information about patents, trademarks, products and services offered by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), and other related information is available by contacting the USPTO Contact Center at:
800-PTO-9199 or 571-272-1000
An automated message system is available 7 days a week, 24 hours a day providing informational responses to frequently asked questions and the ability to order certain documents. Customer service representatives are available to answer questions, send materials or connect customers with other offices of the USPTO from 8:30 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. ET, Monday-Friday (excluding federal holidays).
For other technical patent information needs, the Inventors Assistance Center can be reached through customer service representatives at the above numbers, Monday through Friday (except federal holidays) from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. ET.
General information can also be obtained in person from the Public Search Facilities of the USPTO. See subsection IV. below.
II. USPTO INTERNET SITE
The USPTO website (www.uspto.gov) provides a wealth of information to all users. The USPTO website offers links to news and notices (such as announcements, press releases, Official Gazette Notices and Federal Register Notices), USPTO contacts and addresses, activities and education related pages (such as the PTDL program and the Kids Pages), patent specific information (such as issued patents and published patent applications, general information pertaining to applying for a patent, electronic filing of patent applications, and reference materials such as the MPEP and examination guidelines), and trademark specific information (such as the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure and the U.S. Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS)). In addition, the website allows downloading of a variety of USPTO forms (including PCT forms), ordering copies of patents and trademarks, accessing a list of all current fees, paying patent maintenance fees, replenishing deposit accounts, accessing various legal materials, linking to related websites, etc.
The Patent Electronic Business Center (EBC) assists USPTO customers with electronic patent application submissions via the Electronic Filing System (EFS-Web) and with the review of patent applications in Public and Private PAIR. The EBC offers online electronic filing information, instructional material, PatentIn and Checker support and is available to assist users through one-on-one support during its normal business hours. The EBC also serves as a liaison in directing customers to other USPTO organizations that can address their specialized business issues and needs. The hours of operation of the EBC are Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. – midnight (ET). The EBC can be reached by telephone at 866-217-9197 (toll-free) or 571-272-4100. The EBC may be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by fax at 571-273-0177.
1. USPTO Databases
(a) Issued Patents
The Patent Grants Database provides access to the full-text of all U.S. patents issued since 1976, and to the full-page images of all U.S. patents issued since 1790.
(b) Published Applications
The Patent Applications Database provides both full-text and full-page images of all U.S. patent applications published since March 15, 2001.
(c) Status Information
Status information relating to patent applications is available through the Patent Application Information Retrieval (PAIR) system. There is both a public and private side to PAIR. In public PAIR, information is available relating to issued patents, published patent applications, and applications to which a patented or published application claims domestic priority. In private PAIR, an applicant (or a registered practitioner with power of attorney) can securely track the progress of the applicant’s application(s) through the USPTO. Private PAIR makes available information relating to unpublished patent applications, but the applicant must associate a Customer Number with the application to obtain access. See MPEP § 403 for Customer Number practice.
(d) Image File Wrapper (IFW)
The Image File Wrapper (IFW) system uses image technology to replace the paper processing of patent applications in the Office. Paper components of these application files (including the specification, oath or declaration, drawings, information disclosure statements, amendments, Office actions, and file jacket notations) have been scanned to create electronic image files. For patent applications in the IFW system, the IFW file is the Official file and no access is granted to the original paper document sheets used to create the IFW file. All processing and examination is conducted using the electronic images instead of the paper source documents.
If an IFW file has been created for a patented application, published application, or an application to which a patented or published application claims domestic priority, the IFW file (with the exception of non-patent literature) is accessible through public PAIR. All patent applications filed after June 30, 2003 have been scanned into the IFW system and will be available in public PAIR as soon as they have been published or patented. Pending applications filed before June 30, 2003 are scanned into IFW as incoming papers are received in the Office. Non-patent literature (NPL) may be viewed using private PAIR (if an IFW file has been created) or obtained from the USPTO Office of Public Records.
Questions about IFW images viewed in PAIR should be directed to the Patent EBC.
(e) Assignments on the Web (AOTW)
Assignment information is available for issued patents and published applications recorded since August 1980. AOTW is available at
www.uspto.gov/patent/laws-and-regulations/ power-attorney-and-assignment/assignments-web-aotw. Questions or concerns regarding the data displayed may be directed to the Assignment Services Division at email@example.com or 571-272-3350.
(f) Global Dossier Public Access
Global Dossier Public Access provides secure, online, one-stop access to and management of dossier information of all applications that comprise a family and that have been filed in multiple participating patent offices. This includes the IP5 Offices, international applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), as well as patent applications from World Intellectual Property Organization-Centralized Access to Search and Examination (WIPO-CASE) participating offices. Global Dossier includes a Citation List that provides a comprehensive listing of relevant citations in related applications that share a common priority claim. By using this service, examiners are able to view Office actions (along with machine translations), citations, and classification data for those applications in real time. In addition, Global Dossier provides Office action Indicators to assist examiners quickly identify applications that contain Office actions. See www.wipo.int/case/en/ for additional information regarding WIPO-CASE. For more information regarding the Global Dossier see https://www.uspto.gov/patents-getting-started/international-protection/global-dossier-initiative.
2. Transacting Electronic Business
(a) Filing Applications and Other Documents
The Electronic Filing System-Web (EFS-Web) allows customers to electronically file patent application documents securely via the Internet. See the EFS-Web Legal Framework
for submissions via EFS-Web. See also MPEP § 502.05.
(b) Paying Fees and Replenishing Deposit Accounts
The Office of Finance Online page Fees Self-Service Portal available at https://fees.uspto.gov/ may be used to access the Patent Maintenance Fees Storefront to pay maintenance fees, the Financial Manager to maintain and replenish deposit account, or the current USPTO Fee Schedules.
(c) Ordering Copies and Publications
Copies of patent applications as filed and patent file wrappers that have been issued or published are available online from the Certified Copy Center (CCC) Storefront at the MyUSPTO log in link (https://my.uspto.gov). Presentation patents (a certified copy of the first page of an issued patent having a special ribbon and seal available for commemorative purposes) may also be ordered. Contact OPR at 1-800-972-6382 or 571-272-3150 for more information.
For questions and information concerning the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), the PCT Help Desk is available to provide assistance and may be reached by telephone at 571-272-4300 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. (ET), Monday through Friday, or by facsimile at 571-273-0419, 24 hours a day. In addition, helpful information is available through the Internet at the International Patent Legal Administration page of the USPTO website at http://ptoweb.uspto.gov/patents/oipc/ipla.html and at the World Intellectual Property Office website (www.wipo.int/portal/en/index.html).
IV. USPTO SEARCH AND INFORMATION RESOURCE FACILITIES
The following USPTO search and information resource facilities are accessible to the public:
- (A) Public Search Facility (Madison East, first floor, 600 Dulany St., Alexandria, VA 22314) at 571-272-3275
(Hours: Weekdays, 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., ET);
- (B) Scientific and Technical Information Center
- (1) Main Library (Remsen Bldg., first floor, 400 Dulany St., Alexandria, VA 22314) at 571-272-3547
- (2) Biotech/Chemical Library (Remsen 1D58) at 571-272-2520
(Hours: Weekdays, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., ET); and
- (C) File Information Unit (Randolph Square, third floor, 2800 South Randolph St., Arlington, VA 22206) at 703-756-1800
(Hours: Weekdays, 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., ET).
V. REGISTERED PRACTITIONERS
The USPTO cannot recommend any particular attorney or agent, or aid in the selection of an attorney or agent. See MPEP § 401. A list of Attorneys and Agents Registered to Practice Before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is available on the USPTO website at
A.Recently Filed Applications
For information and questions concerning recently filed patent applications and filing receipts, contact the Application Assistance Unit at 571-272-4200 (hours: weekdays, 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., ET).
For inquiries concerning projected pre-grant publication dates, contact the Application Assistance Unit at 571-272-4200.
For information on the status of a patent application, patent applicants who have access to PAIR should check PAIR. Alternatively, applicants may contact the Application Assistance Unit at 571-272-4200.
For information pertaining to mail, facsimile, or hand-delivery of correspondence to the USPTO, see MPEP §§ 502 – 502.01. For information pertaining to Internet electronic mail (email) correspondence with the USPTO, see MPEP § 502.03.
E.Copies of Documents
Inquiries regarding certified or uncertified copies of documents, including patent applications-as-filed, patent related file wrappers, and patent copies, should be directed to the Office of Public Records’ (OPR) Patent and Trademark Copy Fulfillment Branch Customer Service at 571-272-3150 or 1-800-972-6382. The Certified Copy Center (CCC) Storefront allows USPTO customers to order certified copies from both published and unpublished patent applications. The CCC Storefront provides a one-stop shop solution for certified copies of documents from both published and unpublished patent applications by including a mechanism for customers to demonstrate their authority to access unpublished patent documents. Access to the CCC Storefront is located at the MyUSPTO log in link (https://my.uspto.gov). Customers will need to have a USPTO.gov account to access the CCC Storefront. To order file histories for self-service copying, contact the File Information Unit at 703-756-1800.
Information regarding maintenance fees may be obtained from the Patent Application Information Retrieval (PAIR) system on the USPTO website, or by contacting the Receipts Accounting Division at 571-272-6500. See MPEP § 2570 for additional information.
For questions pertaining to filing assignments or other documents affecting title, contact Assignment Recordation Branch at 571-272-3350 or email questions to EPAS@uspto.gov. Documents may be submitted to the Assignment Branch by facsimile at 571-273-0140. See MPEP § 302.09 for additional information.
Petitions regarding the filing of patent applications, revival of abandoned applications, reinstatement of expired patents, withdrawal of patent applications from issue, small entity entitlement, review of previous decisions of the Technology Centers, suspension of regulations, and questions not specifically provided for by regulations are administered by the Office of Petitions. See MPEP § 1002.02(b). For matters decided by the Office of Petitions, the appropriate USPTO personnel may be reached at the Petitions Help Desk at 571-272-3282.
Resource information and reference materials regarding petitions handled by the Office of Petitions are available at www.uspto.gov/ patents-application-process/petitions. The website also describes various ways available to file petitions, including EFS-Web, mail (United States Postal Service (USPS) and non-USPS), ePetition, facsimile, and hand carry. Note that a petition to withdraw an application from issue may be filed as an ePetition or sent by facsimile to 571-273-0025 (all other facsimile transmissions to the Office of Petitions should be sent to the Central FAX Number 571-273-8300). Urgent petitions to withdraw an application from issue may also be filed as an ePetition.
For help related to downloading the PatentIn software program or using PatentIn, contact the Patent Electronic Business Center at 866-217-9197 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org (see subsection II.B. above). See MPEP § 2430 for additional information.