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For over 200 years, the basic role of the U.S. 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."[1]

The USPTO is a federal agency in the Department of Commerce located in Alexandria, Virginia. 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. §§1337-38 contains authority to print patents, trademarks, and other matters relating to the business of the Office.


  1. United States Constitution, Art. 1, §8, cl. 8.