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Patents, Trademarks, and Copyright: General

What is intellectual property, anyway? Find out here.

The Smithtown Library Patent and Trademark Resource Center

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William Salas
The Smithtown Library
1 North Country Rd
Smithtown, NY 11787
(631) 360-2480 x128

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Intellectual Property

What is Intellectual Property?*

Intellectual property refers to creations of the mind: inventions, literary and artistic works, and symbols, names, images, and designs used in commerce.

Intellectual property is divided into two categories: Industrial property, which includes inventions (patents), trademarks, industrial designs, and geographic indications of source; and Copyright, which includes literary and artistic works such as novels, poems and plays, films, musical works, artistic works such as drawings, paintings, photographs and sculptures, and architectural designs. Rights related to copyright include those of performing artists in their performances, producers of phonograms in their recordings, and those of broadcasters in their radio and television programs. For an introduction to IP for non-specialists see:

World Intellectual Property Organization website. The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) is the global forum for intellectual property (IP) services, policy, information and cooperation. We are a self-funding agency of the United Nations, with 193 member states.

 The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is the government agency for granting U.S. patents and registering trademarks. 

The United States Copyright Office is responsible for administering copyright laws, registering copyrights, the recordation of title and licenses and other aspects of the 1976 Copyright Act and the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act.. 

The Smithtown Library Patent and Trademark Resource Center PTRC opened in 2013 and has aided over 1,200 patrons. The PTRC Representative William Salas may be reached at (631) 360-2480 x128 or by email All services are free.

PTRC library representatives can:

  • Provide access to resources such as Patent Public Search and TESS, Trademark Electronic Search System
  • Direct you to information and explain the application process and fee schedule
  • Demonstrate how to use search tools to conduct a patent or trademark search
  • Show you a directory of local patent attorneys who are licensed to practice before the USPTO
  • Offer classes on intellectual property 
  • Offer assistance on how to do historical research on patents and trademarks
  • Show you how to track current research by company or nonprofit
  • Help you find assignee information and much more.