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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

Alert!  USPTO Systems Down

12/23/15. A major power outage at USPTO headquarters occurred last night resulting in damaged equipment that required the subsequent shutdown of many of the US PTO's online and IT systems. This includes filing, searching, and payment systems, as well as the systems examiners use across the country. Status updates and alternative filing methods can be found on their systems alert page