Skip to Main Content

Copyright/Creative Commons, Trademarks, and Patents: Home

This guide provides an overview of intellectual property and ways to search for patents and trademarks.

Introduction to Intellectual Property


This is the expression of an idea. It could be a song, book, poem, sculpture, film, photograph, literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, or certain other intellectual works.


This is something used in business, such as the name of the business or a product or service of the business or a symbol used to represent a business, product, or service.


Patents deal with inventions. Within the field of patents are utility patents, design patents (the ornamental design of a functional item), and plant patents.

All of the above

There are circumstances under which an object contains two or perhaps all kinds of intellectual property. For example, a bottle of mouthwash might have a trademark (Scope,) patent (the design of the bottle,) and copyright (the description of the product on the back of the bottle.)

Patent and Trademark Resources at the BPL

The Boston Public Library is a Patent and Trademark Resource Center.  The Kirstein Business Library & Innovation Center staff can help answer your patent and trademark questions.

Staff can assist with the following:

  • Provide access to resources such as Patent Public Search
  • 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 assistance on how to do historical research  patents and trademarks

Staff can provide instruction in how to do search for patents and trademarks, but does not perform actual searches for patrons.

Email the Kirstein Business Library & Innovation Center at or call us at 617.536.5400. The Kirstein Business Library & Innovation Center is located on the lower level of 700 Boylston Street.



Patent Pro Bono Program

Patent Pro Bono Program