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Patents and Trademarks: IP News, Events, & Connections

The Ryan-Matura Library is a United States Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC) of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.


Happy Inventor's Day!

Patent of the Month

February 11th was chosen as National Inventor's Day because it is the birthday of Thomas Alva Edison, one of our most prolific inventors, credited with well over 1,000 patents in his lifetime. He is often referred to as "The Wizard of Menlo Park", a reference to his laboratory in New Jersey. An early motion picture (one of his inventions) shows him at work . ("Thomas Edison at Work." Thought Equity Motion Collections 1920. Biography in Context. Web. 12 Feb. 2016.).

Below is a page from one of  his inventions, still influencing communications today, the telephone:

Edison's Telephone Patent

News You Can Use

The Wizard of Weston - suggestions for successful inventing from Stanley I. Mason, of Weston, CT, who held more than 60 patents; originally published in U.S. Airways Attache (Nov. 1997).

Searcey, D. (2011, Jul 07). Frisbee maker snared in patent fight. Wall Street Journal Retrieved from; products imprinted with expired patent numbers may be anti-competitive.

"Time to Fix Patents; Innovation." The Economist 416, no. 8950 (Aug 08, 2015): 11.

"A Question of Utility; Intellectual Property." The Economist 416, no. 8950 (Aug 08, 2015): 50-52.

IP Blogs & News Sites

Center for Technology Innovation (Brookings Institute)

IAM Blog

Intellogist (Landon IP)

IPWatchdog (Practicing Law Institute)

IP / Patents News (National Academies)

Journal of the Patent and Trademark Office Society Blog

Protecting Designs

The Patent Search Blog (Stephen van Dulken)

Tactical IP (Widerman Malek)

The Copyright Alliance Blog

Dear Rich: An Intellectual Property Blog (Nolo)

Funky Marks

Trademark Blog (Schwimmer Legal)

The Root (Trust Tree Trademarks) 

Likelihood of Confusion (Ron Coleman)

Re:Marks on Copyright and Trademark

Trademark and Copyright Law (Foley and Hoag)

The TTABlog (John L. Welch)

Trademark and Copyright Thoughts Blog (Fish & Richardson)

Your Trademark (Brown & Michaels)

How to Select a Good Trademark (Small Business Info Canada)

Trademarks vs. Generic Names (International Trademark Association)

Patent Librarian's Notebook

Other Patent Databases and Reference Sources

Patent research is a time consuming process. Not only do you have to research both domestic and foreign patents and applications, you must also search "non-patent literature (NPL)." NPL encompasses magazine and journal articles, newspapers, trade journals, product catalogs, the internet, tradeshows, etc. any medium or outlet that would divulge prior-art. Do not limit yourself to researching only the patent databases. The University Library subscribes to other databases that you may find useful in your non-patent literature searches.

The following is a list of additional online patent resources beyond the official USPTO site that you may find useful in your research:

Patent Reference Information from Other Government Agencies and Non-Profits

The NBER U.S. Patent Citations Data File - downloadable data files developed by the National Bureau of Economic Research for patents granted between January 1963 and December 1999.

These data are described in detail in

Hall, B. H., A. B. Jaffe, and M. Trajtenberg (2001). "The NBER Patent Citation Data File: Lessons, Insights and Methodological Tools." NBER Working Paper 8498.

Electronic Orange Book
Approved Drug Products with Therapeutic Equivalence Evaluations. Maintained by the U.S. Food and Drug
Administration; useful in identifying patents for pharmaceuticals.
DTIC Online
          Defense Technical Information Center. Central resource for government-funded scientific, technical, engineering, and business-related information

Journal of the Franklin Institute of the State of Pennsylvania (formerly known as The Franklin Journal and American Mechanics' Magazine). Vols. 1-6 include more or less complete patent reports of the U.S. Patent Office for the years 1825-<1828>; searchable archive digitized by Hathi Trust.

Commercial Intellectual Property Search Sites

Patents are available as Adobe Acrobat files (pdf).
Free Patents Online
Patent Lens
Google Advanced Patent Search

Intellectual Property Associations

PTRCA: Patent and Trademark Rescource Center Association​
PATLIB Network
AUTM: Association of University Technology Managers
PIUG: Patent Information Users Group
European Intellectual Property Association
Intellectual Property Owners Association
BKFK: By Kids For Kids
Global Women Inventors & Innovators Network (GWIIN)