When using text from articles published in journals and magazine, we need to obtain copyright permission from the copyright owner (publisher or author). I wonder if we need copyright permission when using text from a US Patent addressing that patent?

The reason that I'm asking is that patent text are freely available on the internet, contrary to journals. In addition to the official website of the US Patent, there are many websites which freely distribute patents.

Have these websites obtained copyright permission fro the US Patent and Trademark Office?

  • 2
    Can you clarify what you mean by "using text" from a patent? Do you mean re-publishing the text? Also, have you tried asking the US Patent and Trademark Office this question directly?
    – JLG
    Commented Apr 5, 2012 at 13:48
  • Have you read this, also? uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/documents/0600_608_01_v.htm II. INCLUSION OF COPYRIGHT OR MASK WORK NOTICE IN PATENTS -- I interpret this to mean that the patent applicant/holder has to take specific steps to have their text marked as copyrighted. Even so, I would guess some (or many) of the websites are not honoring the copyright.
    – JLG
    Commented Apr 5, 2012 at 13:57
  • @JLG you should post your link as an answer and quote the owner has no objection to the facsimile reproduction by any­one of the patent document or the patent disclosure, as it appears in the Patent and Trademark Office patent file or records which clearly shows that as long as one reproduces it as part of the patent, then no foul. I'd personally like to see a brief discussion on fair use in the answer, but then I'd just answer it myself. ;) Commented Apr 10, 2012 at 14:41

1 Answer 1


Generally no, you do not need permission from the patent holder to use text from their patent application. "Subject to limited exceptions reflected in 37 CFR 1.71(d) & (e) and 1.84(s) , the text and drawings of a patent are typically not subject to copyright restrictions." The exception referenced within deals with patent apps which themselves contain copyrighted material. See http://www.uspto.gov/news/media/ccpubguide.jsp

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