The US Patent and Trademark Office, known as the USPTO, resides in Alexandria Virginia. It is their charter to manage, evaluate and issue patents and trademarks in the USA. Patents and trademarks can be applied for by individual inventors, businesses and corporations from anywhere in the world.
The USPTO is charged with assisting "industrial and technological progress in the United States to strengthen the national economy". This is accomplished through:
By facilitating intellectual property rights the USPTO encourages and protects innovations. Innovations and inventions are encouraged by making public knowledge the information, techniques and best practices that are recorded in patents. This information serves as a base for future inventors to build upon or apply to other fields of technology.
Protecting patent and trademark rights for an extended period of time gives innovators the incentive to share their ideas by allowing them to profit from their hard work. Documenting with a patent allows this information to be shared with the world. I find the patent databases to be one of the absolute best places to search for ideas and solutions to problems. This works in all areas of reaserch from the simplist ideas to the most complex.
Another fantastic aspect of the The US Patent and Trademark Office is the ability to search patents and trademarks for free. When used correctly this is a tremendous resource.
It is difficult to quantify the value of the patent system but it must be staggering. Encouraging technological developments and the sharing of that knowledge is what drives progress and prosperity.
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