United States Patent Laws and Rules of Practice
The current U.S. Patent Laws may be found at 35 U.S.C. (2015). The Leahy-Smith America Invents Act, enacted in 2011, has changed the rules for when to file a patent application and how to treat the innovation until an application is filed. The procedural rules that implement the US Patent Laws may be found at United States Patent Rules of Practice.
United States Trademark Laws and Rules of Practice
The current US Trademark laws and the procedural rules that implement the US Trademark laws may be found at United States Trademark Laws and Rules of Practice.
United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)
The USPTO grants U.S. patents, registers trademarks, and guides domestic and international intellectual property policy. The USPTO website contains valuable educational information, searching facilities, and status information about pending applications.
The USPTO provides patent searching capabilities and links to several international patent offices here.
In addition, the USPTO provides trademark searching here.
Copyright Office of the Library of Congress
The U.S. Copyright Office provides information regarding the registration of copyrights in the U.S., including
- how to register a work here;
- how to record a document pertaining to a copyright, including documents that transfer copyright ownership, here; and
- how to search records of registered books, music, art, periodicals, and other works, including copyright ownership documents here;
- how to work with its Licensing Division to administer various statutory-required licenses and similar provisions, here.
European Patent Office (EPO)
The EPO, as the executive body of the European Patent Organisation, grants European patents for the contracting states to the European Patent Convention. The EPO provides a single consolidated examination for patent applications for most of Europe. The result of an EPO grant is not a European Union patent or even Europe-wide patents, but a bundle of national patent rights. Once the EPO grants, it has to be validated in each of the contracting states in which patent protection is desired.
The EPO provides information and searching facilities here.
Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
The PCT is an international patent law treaty that is administered by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), an agency of the United Nations. The PCT provides a unified procedure for filing patent applications and having them examined. A PCT application establishes a common filing date for all countries that are members of the treaty, but does not itself result in the grant of a patent. It must be followed up entering into national or regional phases in the separate countries in which patent protection is desired.
WIPO provides searching capabilities here.
The Madrid Protocol is a treaty which provides for international registration of trademarks. The Madrid Protocol, operating through the Madrid System, provides a cost-effective and efficient way for trademark owners to obtain protection for their marks in multiple countries through the filing of one application with a single office, in one language, with one set of fees, in one currency. WIPO’s International Bureau administers the Madrid System.
The USPTO provides a summary of and links to trademark registration at the USPTO through the Madrid Protocol here.
The Hague Convention provides for international protection of designs. The United States entered the convention, with effect from May 2015.
The USPTO provides a summary of the Hague Convention here.