U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is the administrative agency of the U.S. government that carries out the mission set forth in the U.S. Constitution to promote the progress of science and the useful arts by securing for limited times to inventors the exclusive right to their inventions. The Patent Office determines whether or not an inventor's discovery qualifies as a protectable invention under the guidelines set forth in Congressional laws and the regulations established to carry out those laws. 

The Patent Office also regulates the registration of U.S. federal trademarks, the brand-names for products and services used in interstate commerce within the U.S.

 

Google Patents

Google provides a useful patent search engine at Google Patents where users can use plain language searching techniques. In addition, Google provides an additional tool, which Google calls Prior Art Finder to facilitate searching for publications and patents that might impact the validity of an issued patent. According to Google the Prior Art Finder scans a patent text for key phrases, combines them into a set of search queries, and displays the results from Google Patents, Google Scholar, Google Books, and the rest of the web.   

 

European Patent Office

Like the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, the European Patent Office is the administrative agency that determines whether or not an inventor's discovery qualifies as a protectable invention, although the European Patent Office’s guidelines for patentability are different than those of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. 

 

U.S. Copyright Office

The U.S. Copyright Office is a department within the Library of Congress, one of the largest libraries in the world. The Library of Congress is an important resource for U.S. legislators, but also collects and preserves knowledge and examples of creativity for future generations. The Copyright Office records copyrights on works of authorship in all its forms.