Patent and Trademark Resource Center

PTRC logo

  • Are you curious about patents?
  • Would you like to learn about trademarks?
  • Would you like some help to get started?

The California State Library has been a United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) designated Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC), originally called a Patent and Trademark Depository Library, since 1979. Library staff can assist with general questions and provide assistance and instruction in the use of patent and trademark resources.

We provide access to the electronic and print patent and trademark resources the USPTO makes available to PTRCs and the public. One example of an electronic resource is PubWEST, an online patent search tool. A print resource is the Trademark Manual of Examining Procedure. Print resources are available for use in the library. All PTRC resources are available at no cost.

Please note that staff cannot perform patent or trademark searches for individuals and cannot give legal advice. For legal advice, please contact a registered patent attorney or agent. More specialized questions should be directed to the USPTO.


Do you have an idea or invention that you want to patent? Read up on the basics of the United States patent process and learn how to perform a thorough patent search.


Do you want to protect your company name or logo in the United States? Read up on trademark basics and search to see if someone already has trademarked your name or design. Or learn more about trademarking your name in California from the Secretary of State.

How to receive assistance from us

Library staff can be contacted by email at or by phone at 916-654-0261, Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., excluding state holidays.

Contacting us by email or phone before visiting us in person is strongly recommended. It is not uncommon for patent and trademark assistance to involve more than a short conversation. If additional time is needed, an option to make an appointment with library staff is available.