How To File for a Utility Patent

How to file a patent application for a non-provisional utility patent.

US patent application
US patent application. Getty Images

A patent application is a complex legal document and should be prepared by someone trained to prepare such documents. After reading this guide, you may wish to consult with a registered patent attorney or agent. However, getting educated in the patent application process makes you an informed consumer.

Types of Patents

There are three types of patents, utility, design, and plant. There are also two subtypes of utility and plant patents called provisional and nonprovisional.

The majority of patents are for nonprovisional utility patents.

  • Don't know what kind of patent application you need? Read A Guide To Patenting to learn more about the basics.

Nonprovisional Utility Patent

This tutorial contains information to assist you in filing your nonprovisional utility patent application. It discusses the required parts of a utility patent and how to prepare and file your patent application.

Patent applications follow a format derived from the patent laws and regulations, found at Title 35 of the United States Code (U.S.C.), and Title 37 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR).

It is not always necessary to read these laws and regulations in order to file a patent application. However, the application is a legal document and you might have to reference this material or want to. You will find it all referenced below.

With your patent application an application transmittal form/letter should be included to instruct the USPTO as to what actual types of papers you are filing and the amount and type of filing fees you are paying. You will not know what your initials fees will be until you know how many claims you will be making.

Also, an application data sheet may be voluntarily submitted with your patent application. The application data sheet contains bibliographic data, arranged in a format specified by the Patent Office.

Utility Patent Musts

A nonprovisional utility patent application must include a specification, including a claim or claims; drawings, when necessary; an oath or declaration; and the prescribed filing fee. All in the right format.