Dallas Public Library’s Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC), housed in the Government Information Center on the 6th Floor of the Central Library, offers the prospective inventor resources and services to assist with patent research and other information-seeking activities associated with innovation.
In addition to providing access to the publicly available USPTO patent and patent application databases, we can get you started using the USPTO’s Seven-Step Strategy for performing a preliminary patent search using the databases. While we can’t perform the actual search on your behalf, we can help equip you to tackle this important stage in assessing an invention’s patentability with regards to the novelty requirement.
The PTRC also provides access to the PubWEST database, and could get you started using this resource. PubWEST is the public version of the search tool used by USPTO patent examiners, having many of the same search features. You would not be able to access this resource outside of a PTRC. PubWEST differs from the USPTO Website in the following respects:
- faster viewing: can move from front page image to front page image in a list of patents with one click (multiple clicks needed on USPTO databases)
- faster, more precise full-text searches using “proximity operators”, other features allowing faster searching
- full-text search access to more U.S. patents through Optical Character Recognition (OCR) full-text database from 1836-1975 (USPTO Website only provides full-text searching back to 1976)
- foreign patent searching access for more thorough coverage of prior art. Among the reasons this may be important:
- if an invention has been previously patented in a U.S. or non-U.S. patent, it cannot be patented again
- if an invention has been previously disclosed in a U.S. or non-U.S. patent application, it cannot be patented again
If you would like to schedule a visit to the library to use PubWEST, please contact the
Government Information Center at (214) 670-1468. (Please note that, although it is powerful, the search interface to PUBWest is “old school” and therefore requires a bit of learning.)
While in many cases electronic resources are the most effective tools for searching/accessing patents, there are patent information needs for which using non-electronic formats is warranted. Serving as a patent depository since 1977, we have a comprehensive collection backdated to the first patents issued in 1790 and including complete drawings and specifications for design, utility, reissue, and plant patents, as well as defensive publications. As part of Dallas Public Library’s Government Information Center, the PTRC also provides ready access to Congressional Serial Sets. USPTO annual reports in the Sets include indexes arranged by subject and by patentee, permitting searches not available for pre-1976 patents when using the USPTO patent database.
In addition to patent resources, the library PTRC includes books and other information sources related to trademark, copyright, and the range of issues involved in intellectual property creation, protection, and exploitation.