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ITCS 4161/5161

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PatFT and AppFT

PatFT and AppFT are the primary location to search for issued patents and published applications from the USPTO online.

Patent Application Information Retrieval (PAIR)

The PAIR system provides a safe, simple, and secure way to retrieve and download information regarding patent application status. There are two PAIR applications, Public PAIR and Private PAIR. Public PAIR provides access to issued patents and published applications to anyone who searches. Private PAIR provides secure real-time access to pending application status and history using digital certificates to authorized attorneys, agents, or inventors.

Trademark Search Tools

  1. Use the Trademark Acceptable Identification of Goods and Services Manual to determine the correct terms for the type of item or service you plan to register
  2. Identify the official class for your service or product using the International Schedule of Classes
  3. If you will be using a design as part of your mark, search the Design Code Manual to get the required six digit code for the visual elements of your trademark.
  4. Search in the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) for your mark (and similar words or phrases), using the various codes and classes identified in the earlier steps
  5. Check in TARR Trademark Status Database to see if any marks found in the last step are still 'live"


Patents and trademarks can be sold, transferred, or bequeathed to another person or entity; this is called assignment.


PubWEST is the public version of the USPTO's Web Based Examiner Search Tool. While WEST can only be accessed at the Public Search Facility in Alexandria, PubWEST is available at all PTRCs. To access PubWEST at the Charlotte PTRC, an appointment is required.

PubWEST allows users to search published applications,  full-text issued patents since 1976, scanned full-text of patents prior to 1976, abstracts of patents from the Japanese and European patent offices, and the collection of foreign patents available at the USPTO.


Prior to the availability of patent and trademark data over the web, the optical disc system CASSIS was the primary means of distributing the information to the public. Until it was ended in December 2011, the CASSIS system included discs with indices to issued patents and trademarks and published applications, full text images of patents and trademarks, and bibliographic tools for searching.