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United States Patent and Trademark Office

From Academic Kids

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Seal of the USPTO

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO or USPTO) is an agency in the United States Department of Commerce that provides patent and trademark protection to inventors and businesses for their inventions and corporate and product identification.

The PTO is currently based in Alexandria, Virginia, after a recent move from the Crystal City area of Arlington, Virginia.

Since 1991, the office has been fully funded by fees charged for processing patents and trademarks.

Contents

Mission

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United States Patent and Trademark Office, Atrium & East/West wings of the Madison Building, 600 Dulany Street, Alexandria, Virginia
The mission of the PTO is to promote "industrial and technological progress in the United States and strengthen the national economy" by:

Fee diversion

Each year, Congress "diverts" fees that the USPTO has collected to the general treasury. In effect, taking monies collected from the patent system to use for the general budget of the United States. This fee diversion is controversial to patent practitioners, who would rather use the funds to improve the patent office and patent system. However, as the commissioner of the USPTO is a politicial appointee, the diversion of fees is always internally supported from within.

Patents

  • Each year, the PTO issues thousands of patents to companies and individuals all around the world. As of August 2004, the PTO has issued nearly seven million patents.
  • The X-Patents (the first 10,000 issued between 1790 and 1836) were destroyed by a fire; less than 3,000 of those have been recovered and re-issued with numbers ending in "X" to distinguish them from those issued after the fire.

See also

External links

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