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U.S. Patent & Trademark Information: Introduction

Gateway to beginning patent and trademark research at UC Berkeley.

Free Public Access to Government Information

Free public access to United States government documents in a federal depository library is guaranteed by law (44 USC §1911).  While UC Berkeley houses one of the most comprehensive collections of U.S. government documents in the country, the Library is one of over a thousand Federal Depository Libraries across the United States, and one of several Federal Depository Libraries in the San Francisco Bay Area.


Patents contain an invaluable chronological record of information and provide a stimulus to further invention in every field which they cover. More than 7,000,000 patents have been issued by the United States government for mechanical, electrical, and chemical inventions; over 243,000 have been issued for design and plant inventions.

This guide will help you find general information on patents and trademarks. It will also enable you to identify and locate abstracts of most United States patents and trademarks.

While the UC Berkeley Library is not an official patent resource center, we do have a collection of patent abstracts and trademarks for the United States, but only the complete texts of U.S. patents (Specifications and Drawings), from 1874 to June 1911. Copies of chemical patents since 1952 are available on microfilm in the Chemistry Library (100 Hildebrand Hall). The UC Berkeley Library maintains a collection of reference materials for U.S. patents and trademarks. General information and various indexes are available at the Doe Library Reference Collection.  Since UC Berkeley is not a patent resource center, copies of other patents may be obtained from the patent depository libraries listed below.

The Doe Reference staff can assists individuals using various reference books for patent searching, but we do not perform patent searches or interpret patent law.

Local Patent Depository Libraries

There are several patent depository libraries in California. These libraries have complete texts of patents in addition to the general patent information and reference books found in the Library. The two in northern California are:


Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr Library (San Jose Public Library)
150 East San Fernando Street
San Jose, CA
(408) 808-2397

California State Library
Government Publication Section
Library & Courts Building
P.O. Box 942837
Sacramento, CA 94237-0001
Collection begins with patent #3,226,729 (1966)

Contact Jesse

Jesse Silva
guide author or co-author photo

Need help with research?  Have a question about the collection or the UC Berkeley Library?  Here are two ways to get in touch with me: