Intellectual Property

Patent and Trademark Resource Center logo

As a Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC) – formerly Patent and Trademark Depository Library (PTDL) – since 1984, the Broward County Library disseminates information on behalf of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The library also provides information from the U.S. Copyright Office. For more information about the PTRC Program, please visit the USPTO’s PTRC Program Office website.

There are three main types of intellectual property protection: patents, trademarks, and copyrights.

Patents protect inventions. They are grants of property rights which allow inventors to exclude others from making, using, or selling their inventions.

Trademarks protect the names of products or services. They are words, phrases, symbols, or combinations of these which identify and distinguish the sources of the goods or services of one party from those of another.

Copyrights protect literary and artistic expression. They are a form of protection provided to the creators of literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works.

The Main Library Information Services Section on the fifth floor of the Broward County Main Library has the reference resources one needs to obtain general patent, trademark, and copyright information, determine the patentability of a new idea, conduct patent and trademark searches, and learn how to apply for patent, trademark, or copyright protection. General circulating books relating to intellectual property are located on the fourth floor.

Note: Although a visit to the Broward County Main Library's Patent and Trademark Resource Center is recommended for anyone seeking information related to intellectual property, general books on patents, trademarks, and copyrights may be found at many branches of the Broward County Library and are generally classified in the 346.73048 Dewey Decimal section of the library.

Links to Websites related to Intellectual Property


U.S. Patent and Trademark Office - Information about patents and describes the patent application process. It also allows patent searching.

Note: Although searches may be conducted on this website, a visit to the Main Library Information Services Section is recommended for additional guidance on patent searching. Please call 954-357-7439 if interested.


Highlighted Service:  Virtual Assistance Pilot Program – Attention Pro-Se Inventors!

Do you need help from the United States Patent and Trademark Office about patent matters?

The Office of Innovation Development of the USPTO is working with the Patent and Trademark Resource Center at the Broward County Main Library to provide greater availability to those needing assistance with the Patent Process by allowing individuals to set up appointments to speak with examiners directly at USPTO by means of the Virtual Assistance Pilot Program.  This is a videoconference meeting which requires in person presence at the Broward County Main Library.  Information on a variety of topics relating to patents and assistance with USPTO administrative and procedural matters will be provided by USPTO staff during the meeting, however, no legal advice will be given.  Examples of assistance include reviewing provisional and nonprovisional patent applications for proper form prior to filing and assistance with procedures related to patent application prosecution.  The Virtual Assistance Pilot Program extends the services that our Patent and Trademark Resource Center has provided in the past. 

Requests may be made for Virtual Assistance appointments to be scheduled during the following times: Tuesdays and Wednesdays 1-3PM as well as Thursdays 10AM-Noon and 1-3PM, with at least two business days’ notice.  Meetings may be for one or two hours as needed, and there is no limit to the number of meetings that may be requested over time, as these are on an as needed basis.  Scheduling of appointments are mediated by PTRC librarian or designated backup.  To participate, please ask at the 5th floor Reference desk or call 954-357-7439 for details.  A Virtual Assistance Pilot Program Inventor Checklist is available to participants to provide guidance on general requirements, some necessary commonly used items, as well as recommended online basic training.

For additional information about this program from the USPTO, please use the following links:

Useful links for those interested in the Virtual Assistance Pilot program:


Links to USPTO monthly patent related programs

The USPTO conducts two monthly chat programs related to patent information of interest to independent inventors.  The format for these live programs consists of approximately a half-hour presentation followed by a half-hour question and answer session.  An email address is provided for each for questions to be submitted to the USPTO.  These programs (click on program title to access page), along with the corresponding regular scheduled times and emails for asking questions are:

Although they are freely available online, these USPTO programs are also simulcast live at the Broward County Main Library’s Creation Station Business (CSB) for those interested in viewing them at the library.

*If interested in attending, please check the USPTO website links provided above to verify program title as well as program date/time, as there have been some exceptions to the regularly scheduled times.  The USPTO also archives past programs at those website links.

For more information please call the Creation Station Business at 954-357-7418 and/or the Reference Desk at 954-357-7439.



U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Information about trademarks and describes the trademark application and registration process. Use the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS) for trademark searches; the Trademark Status & Document Retrieval (TSDR) system for status of registered and pending federal trademarks and obtain filed documentation related to the prosecution of specific trademarks as available; and the Trademark Electronic Application System (TEAS) enables the user to apply for a trademark online.  These and many more useful webpages can be accessed via the convenient Quick Links menu on the USPTO main page.


U.S. Copyright Office Publications on copyright basics, copyright registration, and copyright registration searching.  Information regarding copyright forms is available at U.S. Copyright Office Forms, and information regarding copyright registration is available at the Registration Portal.