The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is an agency in the U.S. Department of Commerce that issues patents to inventors and businesses for their inventions, and trademark registration for product and intellectual property identification.
The USPTO is "unique among federal agencies because it operates solely on fees collected by its users, and not on taxpayer dollars". Its "operating structure is like a business in that it receives requests for services—applications for patents and trademark registrations—and charges fees projected to cover the cost of performing the services provide".
The USPTO is based in Alexandria, Virginia, after a 2005 move from the Crystal City area of neighboring Arlington, Virginia. The offices under Patents and the Chief Information Officer that remained just outside the southern end of Crystal City completed moving to Randolph Square, a brand-new building in Shirlington Village, on April 27, 2009.
The current Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and director of the USPTO is Andrei Iancu. He began his role as director on February 8, 2018. Iancu was nominated by President Trump in August 2017, and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. Prior to joining the USPTO, he was the Managing Partner at Irell & Manella LLP, where his practice focused on intellectual property litigation.
The USPTO cooperates with the European Patent Office (EPO) and the Japan Patent Office (JPO) as one of the Trilateral Patent Offices. The USPTO is also a Receiving Office, an International Searching Authority and an International Preliminary Examination Authority for international patent applications filed in accordance with the Patent Cooperation Treaty.