The USPTO is headed by the Under Secretary of Commerce for Intellectual Property and the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, and has several internal offices, such as the Office of the Commissioner for Patents and the Office of the Commissioner for Trademarks. These two offices are in charge of examining applications and granting patents or registering trademarks when applicants are entitled. The USPTO also has a Patent Trial and Appeal Board and a Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. Among others, these appeal boards render decisions on appeals from adverse examiners' decisions, post-issuance challenges to patents, oppositions to the registration of trademarks, and petitions to cancel trademark registrations.
The USPTO has a patent database and a trademark database that may be consulted before requesting that a patent is granted or a trademark is registered to establish if there are any similar patents or trademarks already registered in the United States of America.
[Last updated in July of 2021 by the Wex Definitions Team]