The main mission of the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is to examine patent applications and review trademark applications, and to issue patents and to register trademarks within the United States. The main office for the USPTO is located in Alexandria, VA.
The USPTO is organized into nine offices, including the Office of the Commissioner for Patents and Office of the Commissioner for Trademarks.
The Patent Office examines patent applications, grants patents to inventors, records patent assignments, and publishes patent information. The patent office manages about 6,000 patent examiners.
The Trademark Office reviews trademark applications and registers trademarks. The Trademark Office manages about 400 trademark examiners.
Inventors may write and file their own patent applications, although this is a complicated process and most inventors are represented by a patent agent or patent attorney. Patent agents and patent attorneys must be registered with the USPTO, which requires passing the USPTO registration examination.
Patent applications can be filed electronically in PDF format, or mailed to the USPTO.