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Research Guides

Patent and Trademark Information: Resources for Inventors, Small Businesses and Entrepreneurs

Selected Inventor Resources

Main patent information portal at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website.

Main trademark information portal at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office website.

USPTO IP Identifier - USPTO Intellectual Property (IP) Identifier
Identify what kind of IP you have. Learn how to identify which of your creative ideas might be intellectual property and how to protect those assets.

Patent Practitioner Home Page (Patent Attorneys and Agents) - U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
This is a searchable index of contact information for attorneys and agents with licenses to practice before the US Patent and Trademark Office. There is also a geographic search available.

Patent Pro Bono Program for Independent Inventors and Small Businesses - U.S. Patent & Trademark Office
The Patent Pro Bono Program is a nationwide network of volunteer patent professionals.  Inventors and small businesses that meet certain financial thresholds and other criteria may be eligible for free legal assistance in preparing and filing a patent application.

Hiring a U.S.-Licensed Attorney for Trademarks - U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
Learn about finding legal assistance from trademark attorneys. Discover when and if it is necessary to hire an attorney.

California Inventors Assistance Program [CIAP] - California Lawyers for the Arts (CLA)
Washington State Pro Bono legal assistance is provided by the California Lawyers for the Arts: California Inventors Assistance Program [CIAP]. Service previously offered by the Washington Pro Bono Patent Network. This service is part of the USPTO Patent Pro Bono Program for independent inventors and small businesses that matches financially under-resourced inventors and small businesses with volunteer patent attorneys and agents to provide free legal assistance in securing patent protection. Please consult the CIAP website for more information and application procedures.

Entrepreneurial Law Clinic - University of Washington School of Law
Teams law and business students with pro bono attorneys and business advisors to provide legal and business counseling to technology entrepreneurs, small businesses, social entrepreneurs, non-profits, students, and UW researchers.  Please consult their website for more information.

Inventor and Entrepreneur Resources - U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
This section of the USPTO website is designed specifically for independent inventors, entrepreneurs, and startups.

Inventors Assistance Center (IAC) - U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
The Inventors Assistance Center at the USPTO answers general questions about patent examination policy and procedure, including technical questions about patent forms.

Trademark Assistance Center (TAC) - U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
The Trademark Assistance Center (TAC) is the main support center for trademark customers, from first-time filers to legal professionals and experienced trademark applicants. They answer questions on a variety of trademark topics, including technical questions about forms and application systems.

USPTO Events - U.S. Patent and Trademark Office
The USPTO offers a variety of in-person and online trainings, education and information sessions, webinars and other events. - U.S. Department of Commerce
Intellectual property rights information and assistance. U.S. government tools and resources on intellectual property rights (IPR).

Washington Small Business Development Center
The SBDC is a cooperative effort of Washington State University and the US Small Business Administration (SBA). Washington SBDC is a network of expert advisors to help entrepreneurs or small business owners start, grow or buy/sell a business.The SBDC offers confidential assistance in technical business affairs and management. WSBDC hosts training, education, and information sessions on a variety of topics, including intellectual property.

Small Business Administration - Seattle District Office
The US Small Business Administration provides assistance and counseling to entrepreneurs and small businesses. The SBA provides a variety of education and training opportunities as well as technical assistance and information.  In addition to the Seattle District Office, there are a range of SBA offices and partner organizations and agencies across Washington State, the Pacific Northwest, and the US.  The SBA website has a searchable "Local Assistance" page to help locate resources in your area.

Seattle Public Library - Library to Business Program
The Seattle Public Library offers a wide range of business programs and services through their "Library to Business" program.  Events, resources, research consultations, classes and workshops for people who are starting or growing a business or nonprofit organization.

King County Library System - Small Business Resources
Support for small business with resources and services, including online events and consultations.

Wex - Intellectual Property: Legal Information Institute (LII), Cornell University Law School
Wex is a free legal dictionary and encyclopedia. Wex is a collaborative public access law resource sponsored by the Cornell Law school. The Intellectual Property section of Wex contains articles about patents, copyrights, trademarks and other intellectual property issues.


While the Library reference service staff is happy to provide assistance with your patent or trademark research, we cannot perform searches, evaluate searches, assist with your application or dispense legal advice.

The University of Washington and its employees are providing a service of an informational nature with no express or implied warranty for results and assume no obligation or liability for damage arising out of the use, or inability to use, the information provided.  Every effort is made to keep this information up to date. However, errors and omissions may occur.

For the most up-to-date information or legal advice, please contact a patent or trademark attorney.