My family has some original patent paperwork from 1916. My grandfather is curious as to whether the original paperwork and drawings has any value other than its age. Also curious as to whether the Patent Office can authenticate the publishing date and topic. Thanks for your help

3 Answers 3


No, unfortunately, they probably don't have any value. Patents documents become public domain (although that's a point of disagreement with some, but practically applicable either way) after they're published, so anyone could go on Google Patents and print out a copy. They're cool, and indeed often beautiful, but not worth much, financially speaking. That's not to say they wouldn't necessarily make some neat artwork if you framed it.

And that brings me to your next curiosity. Google Patents does in fact have the patent that it appears you're asking about on file. If you're interested in validating your own copy, that's probably your best bet. You could also check on Public Pair, but if you have paper copies of what the Google Patents file says, I'd imagine them to be real. I don't imagine you'll have any way of confirming that they're original papers.

  • 2
    The information contained in the patent may not have any "value" because, as you said, the information is in the public domain. But if the original document itself has a historical or sentimental significance, it may indeed have some value as a collectable. Dec 5, 2014 at 17:42

As stated by Robert Cartaino in a comment, if the patent itself was particularly important or the inventor famous, then the documents have might have collectible value. I imagine that Thomas Edison's original signed patent application for the light bulb would have significant value. I sincerely doubt the USPTO provides authentication services, but don't know for sure.


In this case, UPSTO has their policies and laws in terms of patenting a paper work depending on its date and topic. I suggest you read this: http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/mpep/s2128.html

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