Selected Highlights of the NYSL US Patent Collection

Diagram of light bulb
Drawing of an "electric lamp" patented by Thomas A. Edison on January 27, 1880 (patent #223,898).

The following is a selective guide to patent resources at the New York State Library. Use the Library's online catalog to check for a specific title or to see all the patent related-resources in the Library’s collection.

Electronic Resources

PubWEST
PubWEST is an online tool which is only available at the USPTO and depository libraries. This is a high speed connection to an online tool that patent examiners use at the USPTO. It allows searching across multiple databases of full-text U.S. patents 1971 to present, full-text U.S. pre-grant applications 2001 to present, optical character recognition searching of full-text US patent images from 1920 to 1975+, European Patent Office abstracts and Japan Patent Office abstracts. PubWEST has fast, flexible display options that make viewing search results lists much easier and faster than on the USPTO web site. It also includes full text of many international patent documents.

Cassis 2
This is a CD/DVD based search system available at the USPTO and depository libraries. Cassis 2 is also available for sale from the USPTO. It is most useful for creating customized displays and exports of patent information.

19th Century Masterfile
This online database includes a searchable, digitized version of the 3 volume set titled Subject Matter Index of Patents for Inventions 1790-1873. It provides keyword access to patentee name, place of residence, title of patent and date of issue.

USPTO web site
Information about U.S. patents and answers to may questions about them can be found on the USPTO website. Access to the USPTO Patent full-text and image database is available 24/7 from any internet connection. This database allows full-text searching of patents issued from 1976 – present and full-text searching of published applications from March 15, 2001 – present. Patents issued from 1790 through 1975 are searchable only by patent number, issue date and current US classification.

US Patent Documents

Design patents from 1842 to present
Design patents are available from 1842 – present online at the USPTO website and on Cassis 2 DVDs. Design patents are also available from 1842 (no. D1) -1999 (no. D418,272) on microfilm.
NYSL Call Number:
RT, C21.31:USP (DVD)
MB/FM PATENT (film)

Plant patents from 1931 to present
Plant patents are available online in black and white at the USPTO website. Plant patents in color are available onsite in paper copy. Plant patents are also available on microfiche from 1931 (no. P1) – 1996 (no. P9,775).
NYSL Call Number:
MB/FF 608.027273, U587, 91-15098 (fiche)

Utility patents from 1790 to present
The United States began issuing patents in 1790 without a numbering system. In mid-1836, two things happened: a fire at the Patent Office destroyed all its records and utility patents began to be numbered, starting with number 1. Since that time, a fraction of the 1790-1836 patents lost in the fire have been recovered. These “recovered” patents have been given numbers beginning with X1 and are now know as the X-patents or the “early unnumbered patents”.
A complete collection of U.S. utility patents, including the recovered the X-patents, is available online at the USPTO website and on Cassis 2 DVDs. Utility patents from 1836 (no. 1) – 1999 (no. 6,088,558) are also available on microfilm.
NYSL Call Number:
RT, C21.31:USP (DVD)
MB/FM PATENT (film)

A collection of the early unnumbered patent documents are available in a microfilm set titled United States Patents, 1790-1836. This microfilm set includes some drawings and specifications that are not found on the USPTO website or on the Cassis 2 DVDs. A printed guide titled Early Unnumbered United States Patents, 1790-1836: Index and Guide to the Microform Edition accompanies this set.
NYSL Call Number:
MB/FM (film)
RR 608, qU642r (guide)

Defensive Publications from 1968 to 1988
Defensive publications are available online at the USPTO website and on Cassis 2 DVDs. Defensive publications are also available on microfilm from1976 ( T856,001) – 1986 (T107,001).
NYSL Call Number:
MB/FM 335.820272, D313 (film)

Official Gazette, 1872-present
This is a weekly publication which lists patents granted that week. The Official Gazette is available in paper copy from 1872-9/2002, on microfilm from 1872 – 7/1994 and on CD from 7/2002 – present.
NYSL Call Number:
J 608.773, U645 (1872-1939)
R, C21.5: (1940-9/2002)
RT, C21.5/6: (7/2002 – present)
MB/FM 608.773, U645 (1872 -7/1994)

Published patent applications from March 15, 2001 to present
Published patent applications are available online at the USPTO website and on Cassis 2 DVDs.
NYSL Call Number:
RT, C21.21/17:USA (DVD)

Reissue Patents
Reissue patents are available online at the USPTO website and on Cassis 2 DVDs. Reissue patents are also available on microfilm from 1838 – 2001. The microfilm is listed under 3 different titles: United States Patent Reissues (1838-1972) CDR File (1973 – 1987) and Patent Status File (1988-2001).
NYSL Call Number:
RT, C21.21:USP (DVD)
MB/FM 608.773, U587, 79-56023 (film)

Statutory Invention Registrations (SIRs) from 1985 to present
Statutory invention registrations are available online at the USPTO website and on Cassis 2 DVDs. Statutory Invention Registrations are also available on microfilm from 1985 (H1) – 1999 (H1825).
NYSL Call Number:
RT, C21.31:USP (DVD)
MB/FM 608.778, U587, 90-10346 (film)

Historical Indexes

Annual Report of the Commissioner of Patents, 1842-1925
These reports contain annual lists by patentee and subject of patent. The annual reports are available in paper copy from 1842 – 1925 and on microfilm from 1847-1871.
NYSL Call Number:
R, C 21.1/2:
MB/FM 608, qU642r

Early Unnumbered United States Patents, 1790-1836: Index and Guide to the Microform Edition
This volume is an index to the microfilm set, United States Patents, 1790-1836. The patents are listed by patent class with indexes by patentee and chronology.
NYSL Call Number:
RR 608, qU642r

Index of Patents Issued from the United States Patent and Trademark Office, 1924- present
These indexes contain annual lists by patentee and subject of patent and are available in paper copy from 1924-2001 and on CD from 2001 - present.
NYSL Call Number:
R, C 21.5/2:

List of Patents for Inventions and Designs, Issued by the United States, from 1790 to 1847
This volume is arranged by subject of the patent with an index by patentee and is available in paper, microfilm and microfiche.
NYSL Call Number:
RR 608, U642L
MB/FF 970, S11, 79-25555
MB/FM 608, qU642r

Name and Date Patents, July 31, 1790 – July 2, 1836
This volume lists the x-patents that were lost in the 1836 Patent Office fire. The x-patents are arranged in chronological order.
NYSL Call Number:
RR 608.773, qN174, 99-12686

Subject Matter Index of Patents for Inventions 1790-1873, 3 vols.
This is an index to patents arranged only by subject matter of the patent. A searchable, digitized version of this 3 volume set is included in the online database, 19th Century Masterfile.
NYSL Call Number:
RR 608, qU642s

Guides to the Patenting Process

Listed below is a selected list of commercially published guides which are available for use onsite at the State Library. Some titles are also available for loan.

  • How to Make Patent Drawings: a “Patent It Yourself” Companion by Jack Lo and David Pressman. 4th ed., 2005.
    NYSL Call Number:
    RR/CQ 608.0221, qL795

  • The Inventor’s Notebook by Fred Grissom and David Pressman. 4th ed., 2005.
    NYSL Call Number:
    RR/CQ 346.730486, qG869

  • Nolo’s Patents for Beginners by David Pressman and Richard Stim. 5th ed., 2006.
    NYSL Call Number:
    L 346.73048, P935

  • Patent It Yourself by David Pressman. This is an annual publication.
    NYSL Call Number:
    RR 346.73048, qP935

  • The Patent Writer: How to Write Successful Patent Applications by Bob DeMatteis, Andy Gibbs and Michael Neustel. 2006.
    NYSL Call Number:
    C 346.73048, D372

Journals

The State Library has a large journal collection, including patent-related titles such as:

  • BNA’s Patent, Trademark and Copyright Journal. 1979 – current.
    NYSL Call Number:
    LAW-PER, PATENT

  • Inventor’s Digest. 1993 – current (incomplete). Online access to this title is also available from 2005 - current in Masterfile Premier.
    NYSL Call Number:
    J 608, qI62

  • IPL Newsletter: a Publication of the American Bar Association Section of Intellectual Property Law. 1993 – current.
    NYSL Call Number:
    LAW-PER, AMERICAN

  • Journal of the Patent and Trademark Office Society. 1985 – current.
    NYSL Call Number:
    LAW-PER, PATENT

  • WIPO Magazine: World Intellectual Property Organization. 2003 – current.
    NYSL Call Number:
    J 346.048, qW111

  • World Patent Information. 1981 – current. Online access to this title is also available from 1995 – current in Science Direct.
    NYSL Call Number:
    J 025.06608, qW919

Legal Materials

The New York State Library has an extensive law collection, including current and older works on intellectual property law, such as:

  • Chisum on Patents: a Treatise on the Law of Patentability, Validity and Infringement by Donald S. Chisum. 17 vols. 1978 with current updates.
    NYSL Call Number:
    L 346.730486, C542

  • How to Write a Patent Application by Jeffrey G. Sheldon. 1992 with current updates.
    NYSL Call Number:
    RR 346.730486, S544

  • Intellectual Property Law and Litigation by Edward F. O'Connor. 2nd ed., 2003.
    NYSL Call Number:
    L 346.73048, qO18

  • McCarthy’s Desk Encyclopedia of Intellectual Property by J. Thomas McCarthy, Roger E. Schechter and David J. Franklyn. 3rd. ed., 2004.NYSL Call Number: RL 346.7304803, M123
  • Patent Guidebook by John T. Pienkos. 2004.
    NYSL Call Number:
    RL 346.73048, P614

  • Patent Law Essentials: a Concise Guide by Alan L. Durham. 2nd ed., 2004.
    NYSL Call Number:
    L 346.73048, D961

  • United States Patent Quarterly. 1929 (v.1) – 1986 (v.231); 2nd series, 1987 (v.1) – current.
    NYSL Call Number:
    LAW/REG, Patents

drawing of a mousetrap
Drawing of an animal trap patented by W.C. Hooker on November 6, 1894 (patent #528,671).
Last Updated: February 26, 2014