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Information about the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

Free Online Patent Training

The USPTO offers free Stakeholder Training on Examination Practice and Procedure “STEPP” classes. STEPP classes are available online and held in-person, around the country. These 3 day classes are a great resource for inventors and attorneys alike, and I encourage you to circulate these STEPP links and material to your inventor contacts.

STEPP is designed to provide external stakeholders with a better understanding of how, and why, an examiner makes decisions while examining patent applications. STEPP courses are in-person trainings led by USPTO trainers and based on material developed for training new patent examiners. The USPTO provides two different STEPP course types:

·         Agent/Attorney 3-Day Course

·         Inventor 3-Day Course

See the full course schedule for topics, dates, places, times, intended audience, and CLE credit information.

As an alternative to the 3-day in person course, audiences may be interested in a Virtual Instructor Led Training (“vILT”).

vILT delivers training to stakeholders on a variety of examination practice and procedure topics. The trainings are derived from the same guidance the USPTO provides experienced patent examiners, and the online format allows participants to remotely attend without the need to travel to USPTO locations.

See the full course schedule  for topics, dates, places, times, intended audience, and CLE credit information.

Patent Electronic Business Center

The Patent Electronic Business Center (EBC) assists customers with the various Patent Electronic Systems which include filing their electronic patent application submissions via the Electronic Filing System (EFS-Web) and with the review of patent applications in Public and Private PAIR, as well as supporting customers while Searching the Patent and Application Full-Text Image Databases. The Electronic Business Center serves the IP community with extended daytime and after-hours technical assistance on a wide range of support topics related to these systems. The EBC can be reached at phone numbers toll-free: 866-217-9197 and local: 571-272-4100 and by email at

The Patent Pro Bono Program

The USPTO Patent Pro Bono Program works with regional programs nationwide to match qualifying inventors with attorneys. The Patent Pro Bono Program can be reached at .


The USPTO Pro Se Assistance Program

( helps inventors who have chosen to file patent applications without a patent attorney. A weekday phone line is open 8 AM – 5 PM EST for inventors to ask questions about their patent applications.


Toll free phone number: 1-866-767-3848

Post Mail:
Pro Se Assistance, Mail Stop 24
P.O. Box 1450
Alexandria, VA, 22313-1450

Scam Prevention

The USPTO offers a series of questions and tips for inventors to help them identify a reputable attorney or patent agent.


USPTO Search Engine

Before dedicating capital to an invention, many inventors find it helpful to search and see what is already out there. The USPTO Full Text and Image database offers searching of every patent database based on text queries.


Law School Clinic Program

The USPTO has partnered with law schools around the country to create patent and trademark clinics for inventors. Law students work under the supervision of a qualified attorney on patent and trademark applications for inventors.


Patent and Trademark Resource Centers

The Patent and Trademark Resource Centers (PTRC) are a nationwide network of public, state, and academic libraries designated by the USPTO to support the public with trademark and patent assistance. PTRC staff are trained by the USPTO for inventor assistance. The Michigan Tech Van Pelt and Opie Library is home to a PTRC.


USPTO Offices

The USPTO has offices around the nation which are designed for certain regions. The offices are headquarters, Midwest, Rocky Mountain, West Coast and South/Southwest. Each office has a regional outreach officer and conducts outreach in its specific region. Walk-in services are available in every regional office.

 USPTO Headquarters

USPTO Headquarters, located in Alexandria Virginia, serves the following states for outreach events: Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, District of Columbia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine, and Puerto Rico. Public events at headquarters can be found and registered for here:

Silicon Valley Regional Office

The Silicon Valley Regional Office offers monthly programming that can be registered for online. A full list of events is accessible here: . The Silicon Valley office serves the West Coast region, including Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.

Rocky Mountain Regional Office

The Rocky Mountain Regional Office, located in Denver Colorado, serves the Rocky Mountain region, including Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming. A full list of events is accessible here:

Midwest Regional Office

The Midwest Regional Office, located in Detroit Michigan, oversees patent programming for Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, and Wisconsin. A full list of events for this office is available here: .

Texas Regional Office

The regional office for the south and southwest, serving Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas, is located in Dallas, Texas. A full list of events is accessible here:

USPTO Events

All USPTO events open to the public – from public hearings to patent trainings – can be found and registered for here:

USPTO Fee Schedule

The fee schedule for patent application filing, searches, PCT filings and general service fees is available online.


Certificate Training Course

The USPTO offers a free certificate training course in basic patent training. This program is designed to inform and educate independent inventors and small businesses about patents.


Trademark Assistance Center

The Trademark Assistance Center is the main support center for all customers, from first-time filers to legal professionals and experienced trademark applicants. Trademarks staff can answer questions on a variety of trademark related topics.

Trademark Videos

The Trademark Office (the “T” in PTO) has its own video series, which provides small businesses basic information on trademarks.