Skip Navigation

PTRC Logo

Funding for the Patent and Trademark Resource Center was provided by the Fogler Library Friends.

About our PTRC | U.S. Patents | U.S. Trademarks | Maine Trademarks

Copyright Resources | Electronic Intellectual Property Journals | Product and Company Directories

Fogler Guide to Patents & Trademarks

U.S. Patents:  Prior Art Searching Tutorial

Please view this thirty-six minute patent searching tutorial How to Conduct a Preliminary Patent Search prior to contacting the PTRC for assistance. Below is a listing of other self-help tools for searching patents.

Patent and Trademark Research Guide. Guide to a wide variety of patent, trademark, and business resources. Compiled by the Orono PTRC.

U.S. Patents

  • U.S. Patent and Trademark OfficeGeneral Information Concerning Patents:  This is a helpful booklet available at the Orono PTRC or at this web site.  Also see the Independent Inventor Resources.
  • U.S. Patent Database  Full page images of patents in TIFF format from 1790 to the present.  Searching by title and abstracts words, full text of patent, inventor or assignee is only available for 1976 to the present. Comprehensive searching requires the use of the Patent Classification System.  See the tutorial for assistance in utilizing all the capabilities of this database.  The patent applications published since March 2001 are also searchable in a separate  database.
  • Electronic Patent Official Gazette.  Announcements of issued patents from U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The most recent 52 issues of the Patent Official Gazette are available online.  Prior issues of the Gazette are available at the PTRCs.  The Electronic Patent Official Gazette allows you to browse or search through the patents issued each week.  You can browse by geographic origin of the inventor, inventor or assignee name and patent class and subclass. The Official Gazette includes the summary of the patent and a representative drawing.  You can link to the full text of the patent from the Gazette.
  • USPTO Patent Assignments.  Updated continuously as assignments are recorded. Determine who has the rights to a particular patent or patent application.  .
  • U.S. Patent Office. Electronic Filing System. and Fee schedule.
  • Patent Application Information Retrieval.  (PAIR) This system retrieves patented and pending published applications. PAIR makes available the Image File Wrapper (IFW) which is the scanned images of many of the application documents that were submitted.  Some inventors still request that their application remain unpublished and unavailable. .
  • Patent Maintenance Fees.  Provides the means for patent holders to pay maintenance fees and also allows checking on who currently owns a patent and if the fees are up-to-date or if the patent has been abandoned.
  • Manual of Patent Examining Procedure.  (MPEP)  8th ed., Rev. 6, 2007. U.S. Patent Office.
  • Forms for conducting business with the U.S. Patent Office.
  • Search for Registered patent agents and attorneys in Maine   Database of attorneys that have licenses to practice before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. For attorneys specializing in trademarks, contact the Maine State Bar Association at 1-800-860-1460 or 1-207-622-1460.
  • Maine Patent Program:. is funded by the state legislature "to support the commercialization and manufacturing of innovations in the State by providing education and assistance with the patent process"  They provide prior art search assistance and evaluation.

U.S. Patent Resources in Fogler Library

  • Index to the U.S. Patent Classification. (SciPTDL T223.A25) December 2003. Also see the online version. Provides a starting point to look for classification numbers.
  • Manual of Classification. U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. (SciPTDL T223.F4U5a) Updated for 2002. Also see the online version. Can scan through the classes to find possible appropriate class number to search.
  • U.S. Patent Classification System Classification Definitions. (SciPTDL Microfiche, C21.3/2) Also see the online version. (Need to choose the definitions.) Provides in depth scope notes and see references for how the classification system is applied by the examiners.
  • Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP). 8th ed., Rev. 6, 2007. U.S. Patent Office.
  • Subject-matter index of patents for inventions issued by the United States Patent Office, 1790 to 1873. (SciPTDL T223.D7A45 1976 v.1 - 3). Helpful subject index which provides patent number, date of registration, inventor, and inventor residence. For newer indexes, see Annual Report of the Commissioner of Patents and General Index of the Official Gazette, below.
  • Annual Report of the Commissioner of Patents and General Index of the Official Gazette. 1840-2002. Indexes by inventor and assignee name and by general subject or title words. They provide the patent number, registration date and the volume and page number where it can be located in the Official Gazette. These are the most effective method for starting an investigation of an older patent or inventor. (SciPTDL T223.D3). Also, limited online availability from University of Michigan MBooks Project. For older indexes, see Subject-matter index of patents for inventions issued by the United States Patent Office, 1790-1873, above.

U.S. Trademarks:  General information and trademark databases

U.S. Trademarks:  Application and trademark status systems.

Maine and State Trademarks

Copyright Resources

International Copyright 
Digital Information and Copyright

Electronic Intellectual Property Journals

Product and Company Directories: 

Search to see if a similar product is already being sold. Also search for similar product and company names to check on trademark status.  

For more information, contact: 
Martin Wallace
Science and Engineering Center
Patent and Trademark Depository
Raymond H. Fogler Library
Orono, Maine 04469-5729 
Phone:  207-581-1678


Created by: Martin Wallace | Revised: 05/27/2014

5729 Fogler Library
University of Maine
Orono, ME 04469-5729
Phone: 207-581-1661 | Fax: 207-581-1653
© Copyright 2000-2014
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469
207-581-1865