Skip to main content

University of Wisconsin - Madison Libraries

Research Guides

Patents and Trademarks: Overview

A guide to information on patents and trademarks, patent searching, inventor resources and UW intellectual property resources.

Get Patent Help!

Wendt is a US PTO Patent & Trademark Resource Center. Read about our Patents & Trademark services

Set up an appointment with Nancy Spitzer or Jody Hoesly

Wendt Reference help -

Call  Nancy (608) 265-9802

Call Jody (608) 262-9455 

Wendt Reference Help (608) 262-0696


Where's Wendt?

Definitions & Concepts

What is a Patent?

A patent is a grant of property right by the government to an inventor preventing others from making, using, or selling a new and useful invention for a period of 20 years from application date.


Watch: Science of Innovation: What is Innovation? 

Video prepared by NBC Learn in cooperation with National Science Foundation and the USPTO.

Key Information

The most comprehensive source for U.S. patent and trademark information is the website of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office:



News and Events

Nov. 17-19: PTO Webinars on Patent and Trademark Searching for Business Owners

Day 1 – November 17, 1 p.m.  ET – Patent Searching – Gwen Blackwell

Day 2 - November 18, 1 p.m. ET – Trademark Searching – Catherine Cain

Day 3 – November 19, 1 p.m. ET – General Town Hall Q&A Session – Anthony Knight and Scott Baldwin

The Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) are offering a free three-day webinar series to help business owners, inventors, entrepreneurs, and start-ups understand the value of conducting proper prior patent and trademark searches.

For more information contact: