FAQs

What is the coverage of this database?

This database includes all United States patents issued to inventors within the present-day boundaries of Wyoming. The first patent was issued in 1867 in Fort Bridger, Utah Territory. Fort Bridger is currently located in Uinta County, Wyoming.


I cannot find a patent in the database that I believe exists.

All attempts have been made to make this database as comprehensive as possible. If you cannot find a patent in the database which you believe was issued to a Wyomingite, please contact the PTRC and we will search for it.

Also, some patents are applied for but are never issued. The application may have been rejected by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) or the inventor may have abandoned it. The Wyoming Inventors Database only includes issued patents.

Please be aware of the possibility of misspellings in the database. Names have been entered exactly as they appear on the issued patent. Try different keywords if you receive no hits. Also, the database can be searched by entering just a portion of the name. For example, searching "Hesl" in the Last Name field will retrieve "Milton E. Heslep" and "Milton E. Hesler."

Adjustments have been made for city misspellings. However, historically accurate location names have not been changed. For example, patents issued to inventors living on the Shoshone Agency in the 1890s did not receive a name change to the Wind River Indian Reservation.


Why am I finding non-Wyoming inventors listed in the database?

Invention is often a collaborative effort. This database indexes patents in which one or more of the inventors listed Wyoming as their state of residence. Out-of-state inventors appear in the database as co-inventors with Wyomingites.


When I click on the USPTO link, I do not see the patent.

When you click on the USPTO link in the Wyoming Inventors Database you will be taken to the patent located on the USPTO web site. Patents appear two ways on the United States Patent and Trademark Office site. Only the most current patents appear in textual form when you click on the USPTO link. The USPTO has been adding the text version of patents retrospectively but currently only 1976 - present are available.

However, most of the patents from 1790 - Present are available as a scanned image on the USPTO web site. If it is a pre-1976 patent, the only information visible will be patent number and patent classification.  New or old, to see the actual patent with drawings, click on the Images button at the top of the screen.


What is an Assignee?

The assignee is the organization or person to whom the inventor transferred the legal rights to the patent. The assignee is generally - but not always - the inventor's employer. This database identifies the assignee at the time the patent was granted. The PTRC has alternative resources to determine any assignment changes since issuance.


Why do some patent numbers have letters before them?

They are several different types of patents. The letter preceding the number (or lack of a letter) indicate the type of patent.

Utility Patents (No Letter): the most common type covering any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement; when patents are discussed, it usually means a utility patent

Design Patents (D): a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture; this patent only protects the appearance of the product

Plant Patents (PP): granted to a person who invents or discovers and asexually reproduces any distinct and new variety of plant

Reissue Patents (RE): when an existing patent has an unintentional error, a reissue patent corrects the mistake

Defensive Publications (T): not technically a patent but used defensively to prevent others from patenting an invention, design, or plant; invention automatically enters public domain; replaced by SIR in 1985

Statutory Invention Registrations, or SIRs (H): replaced the Defensive Publication in 1985 and offers similar protection

X Patents (X): patents did not start receiving numbers until 1836, early unnumbered patents were retroactively given numbers preceded by an "X"; X patents were issued from 1790 to 1836

Additional Improvements (AI): from 1838 to 1861, patents covering an inventor's improvement on their own patented device were given a separate series of numbers