The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) offers an Inventors Assistance Center (IAC) that is staffed by experts who can help with some aspects of the patent process, including filling out forms. 

What the Center can do for you:

  • Answer general questions regarding patent examining policy
  • Answer questions concerning necessary formats and items needed for your patent application
  • Assist you with forms needed and with filling out the forms
  • Direct your calls to appropriate USPTO personnel or web pages, as necessary
  • Provide you with general information concerning patent examining rules, procedures, and fees
  • Send you patenting information and forms via USPS mail or facsimile

What the Center cannot do for you:

  • Cannot give an opinion as to whether an invention is patentable
  • Cannot provide legal advice or legal interpretations
  • Cannot provide patent searches or other intellectual property research
  • Cannot provide specific line-by-line completion of forms (but can provide directions)

How to Contact the Center:

Hours: Monday – Friday, 8:30 AM – 8:00 PM (ET), except federal holidays
Toll-free: 800-PTO-9199 (800-786-9199)
Local: 571-272-1000
TDD/TTY customers can dial 800-877-8339 for customer assistance

There are also two Patent and Trademark Resource Centers (PTRC) in Wisconsin:

PTRC library representatives can:

  • Provide access to resources such as PubEAST and PubWEST, examiner-based search systems
  • Direct you to information and explain the application process and fee schedule
  • Demonstrate how to use search tools to conduct a patent or trademark search
  • Show you a directory of local patent attorneys who are licensed to practice before the USPTO
  • Offer classes on intellectual property (varies by location)
  • Offer assistance on how to do historical research on patents and trademarks
  • Show you how to track current research by company or nonprofit
  • Help you find assignee information and much more

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