NOTICE: The content of this page contains material from the United States Patent and Trademark Office Web site and is intended for purely informational use. It should in no way be construed as any type of legal advice whatsoever. InventHelp cannot and does not perform legal services associated with the seeking of patent protection. InventHelp does refer clients to invention patenting services offered by independent patent attorneys or patent agents.

The U.S. Patent System and the First Mechanical Patent

On March 6, 1646, Joseph Jenkes received the first mechanical patent in North America. Issued by the General Court of Massachusetts, it protected his mill for manufacturing scythes. That was the prelude to the U.S. Patent System which has helped give birth to major industries that have transformed the way we live.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office: The Beginning

On April 10, 1790, President George Washington signed the bill which laid the foundations of the modern American patent system. Since that time, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has recorded and protected the electric lamp of Thomas Edison, the telephone of Alexander Graham Bell, the flying machine of the Wright Brothers, and the inventions of hundreds of thousands of other inventors throughout American history.

In its earlier days, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office had on various occasions the responsibility for administering copyright matters, a task that since 1870 has been administered by the Library of Congress; collecting and publishing agricultural information; and even collecting meteorological data.

For some years, the USPTO was the custodian not only of the famous old Patent Office models – the delight of every visitor to Washington for many years – but also of the Declaration of Independence, and other historical documents and relics.

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office: Today

The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office is one of the most unusual branches of the U.S. Government. Its examining staff of about 2,000 is trained in all branches of science and examines thoroughly every application to determine whether a patent may be granted – a task, in these days, involving the most exhaustive research.

Not only must the examiners search United States and foreign patents to learn if a similar patent has been issued, but they must study scientific books and publications to discover whether the idea has ever been described in recent history. Previous publications, invention, or use prevents a patent being issued.

In addition to issuing patents, the Patent and Trademark Office has, since 1870, been in charge of registering trademarks, the business community's most valuable asset. More than 1,400,000 trademarks have been issued.

By publishing and distributing copies of every U.S. patent, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has made available to the public the world's greatest scientific and mechanical library.

InventHelp gives no advice as to whether your idea is patentable. Such advice may come only from a patent attorney or licensed patent agent. If you wish patent advice, it is advisable to seek advice from an independent patent attorney.


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InventHelp gives no advice as to whether your idea is patentable. Such advice may come only from a patent attorney or licensed patent agent. If you wish patent advice, it is advisable to seek advice from an independent patent attorney.

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