The USPTO is an agency of the US Department of Commerce that grants patents to inventors and trademarks for products and IP identification. The agency is unique since it functions on fees collected by users and not on taxpayer’s money. Its headquarters are in Alexandria, Virginia. This agency cooperates with the European Patent Office (EPO) and the Japan Patent Office (JPO) as one of the Trilateral Patent Offices.
It’s a Receiving Office, an International Searching Authority and an International Preliminary Examination Authority for international patent applications filed under the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).
The USPTO’s mission is to promote industrial and technological progress in the US and thereby, strengthening its national economy.
The USPTO examines international patent applications under the PCT. The first patent was granted in 1790. Each year, the USPTO grants over 150,000 patents.
The USPTO examines trademark applications for trademark registration. On approval of the trademark, it is registered on either the Principal Register or the Supplemental Register, depending on fulfilment of the criteria.
The USPTO accepts patent applications filed in electronic form. Inventors or their patent attorneys can file applications as Adobe PDF documents. Filing fees can be paid by credit card or by a USPTO "deposit account".
The website of the USPTO provides free electronic copies of the patents granted and patent applications as graphic document.