Trademark Office (USPTO)

Last / Next  2009-02-22 07:48:31

For over 200 years, the basic role of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has remained the same: to promote the progress of science and the useful arts by securing for limited times to inventors the exclusive right to their respective discoveries (Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution). Under this system of protection, American industry has flourished. New products have been invented, new uses for old ones discovered, and employment opportunities created for millions of Americans. The strength and vitality of the U.S. economy depends directly on effective mechanisms that protect new ideas and investments in innovation and creativity. The continued demand for patents and trademarks underscores the ingenuity of American inventors and entrepreneurs. The USPTO is at the cutting edge of the Nation’s technological progress and achievement.

The USPTO is a federal agency in the Department of Commerce. The USPTO occupies five interconnected buildings in Alexandria, Virginia. The office employs over 7,000 full time staff to support its major functions--- the examination and issuance of patents and the examination and registration of trademarks.

The USPTO has evolved into a unique government agency. Since 1991--under the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act (OBRA) of 1990--the agency has been fully fee funded. The primary services the agency provides include processing patent and trademark applications and disseminating patent and trademark information.

Through the issuance of patents, the USPTO encourages technological advancement by providing incentives to invent, invest in, and disclose new technology worldwide. Through the registration of trademarks, the agency assists businesses in protecting their investments, promoting goods and services, and safeguarding consumers against confusion and deception in the marketplace. By disseminating both patent and trademark information, the USPTO promotes an understanding of intellectual property protection and facilitates the development and sharing of new technologies worldwide.

USPTO programs are conducted under the following principal statutory authorities:

* 15 U.S.C. 1051-1127 contains provisions of the Trademark Act of 1946 that govern the administration of the trademark registration system of the Patent and trademark Office.
* 15 U.S.C. 1511 states that the Patent and Trademark Office is under the jurisdiction and supervision of the Department of Commerce.
* 35 U.S.C. contains basic authorities for administration of patent laws, derived from the Act of July 19, 1952, and subsequent enactment. Revenues from fees are available, to the extent provided for in appropriations acts, to the Commissioner to carry out the activities of the Office. The Patent and Trademark Office is authorized to charge international fees for activities undertaken pursuant to the Patent Cooperation Treaty. Deployment of automated search systems of the Office to the public is authorized.
* 44 U.S.C. 1337-1338 contains authority to print patents, trademarks, and other matters relating to the business of the Office

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