what is the best intellectual property protection

What is the Best Intellectual Property Protection?

The USPTO offers several different forms of intellectual property (IP) protection. So, as an owner of an intellectual property, which form of intellectual property protection should you choose? We will discuss the best intellectual property protection below.

What is the Best Intellectual Property Protection?

The best intellectual property protection is the one that's suitable for your specific property. The patent office offers IP owners the ability to protect their IP with the following forms of protection:

  • Patents

  • Trademarks

  • Copyrights

  • Trade Secrets

The best intellectual property protection is the one that's suitable for your specific type of property, here is a chart that will help you determine the appropriate type of protection for your property.


IP Protection
Protects
Length of Protection
Registration Required?
Infringement
Cost of Protection
Utility Patent
Utility patents protect how an invention works (The function of an invention)20 years from the filing date of a patent applicationYesOccurs when someone uses, makes, sells, or imports to the U.S the patented invention$$$$$
Design Patent
Design patents protect how an invention looks (The appearance or ornamental aspects of an invention)15 years from the date the patent office grants a design patent applicationYesOccurs when someone uses, makes, sells, or imports to the U.S the patented invention$$$
Trademark
Trademarks protect brand names, symbols, and logos that are used to identify the source of goods or servicesTrademark protection is ongoing so long as the trademark is used as a trademarkNo, but registration is very importantAnyone who uses the trademark to mislead the public as to the source of goods or services$$
Copyright
Copyrights protect works of art, such as songs, movies, books, and software codeCopyrights are valid throughout the life of the author, as well as 70 years after the death of the authorNo, but registration offers additional rights and protectionAnyone who copies the artistic work without the permission of the author. This is subject to some exceptions$
Trade Secret
Protects information that a business has that is unknown to the publicIndefinite so long as the trade secret is kept as a secretNoMisappropriation of trade secretsNot Applicable

After reading this table, you should be able to choose the appropriate protection for your intellectual property. We covered what type of IP is protects by utility patents, design patents, trademarks, copyright, and trade secrets.

Note: In some circumstances, you may choose more than one type of intellectual property protection to protect the same invention, design, artwork, or brand.

We will discuss each type of IP protection in more detail below.

Utility Patent IP Protection

Utility patents can be used to protect how your invention works or the functional aspects of your invention. You can obtain a utility patent by preparing and filing a utility patent application with the USPTO.

If you want to protect your invention with a utility patent, make sure that you file a utility patent application within 12 months of publicly disclosing your invention or offering it for sale.

When filing a utility patent application, inventors have two options. The first option is to file a provisional application or to file a (regular) nonprovisional utility patent application.

A provisional application does not turn into a patent but it reserves an early filing date for an invention. This is very important in the US because the US has a first to file rule, which grants a patent to the first inventor who files a patent application. To obtain a patent after filing a provisional application, an applicant must file a regular application within 12 months of filing the provisional application.

If you are successful in obtaining a utility patent, your invention will be protected for 20 years from the date you filed a nonprovisional patent application with the patent office.

Once the patent office grants a utility patent application, the patent holder will be able to restrict others from using, making, selling, and importing the patented invention to the United States.

That said, obtaining a utility patent is quite expensive due to the amount of work that goes into preparing and filing a patent application with the patent office. Patenting even a simple invention could cost more than $8,000.

Design Patent IP Protection

Design patents can be used to protect how your invention looks. If your product or invention has a unique appearance, you can protect its appearance by preparing and filing a design patent application with the USPTO.

Like with utility patents, a design patent must be filed within 12 months of publicly disclosing your design or offering an article that bears the design that you want to patent.

If you do not file a design patent application within 12 months of publicly disclosing or selling your design, you will be prohibited from patenting it.

If you are successful in patenting your design, you will be able to stop others from using, making, selling, and importing an article to the United States that bears the design that you've patented.

If someone does use, make, or sell your patented design, you will be able to bring a lawsuit against them for patent infringement in Federal District Court.

If your lawsuit is successful, you may obtain an injunction against them prohibiting them from infringing upon your intellectual property. In some circumstances, you may also be able to recover lost profits that you incurred as a result of the infringement upon your design patent.

Design patents are less expensive to obtain from utility patents because they require less work by the attorney preparing your design patent application. If you want to protect your design with a design patent, you should expect to pay $2,500 to $3,500 for an attorney to prepare your design patent application.

Trademark IP Protection

If you have a brand name, logo, or symbol that you use on products or services that you offer to the public, you can protect them by registering them as a trademark with the USPTO.

The trademark office has allowed people to register sounds, colors, and designs if customers use them to identify them or their businesses are the source of goods or services.

That said, the most commonly registered trademarks with the patent office are word marks, logos, and slogans that businesses use to identify themselves as the source of goods or services.

Trademark registration is not mandatory, however, you;re only protected in the State in which you're using the trademark.

Registering your mark establishes your ownership over the registered mark and gives other notice that you're using the trademark.

At Patent Rebel, we believe the most important benefit of registering your trademark with the patent office is that it offers nationwide protection for your trademark. This means that no one can use the same trademark on the goods or services for which your trademark is registered throughout the United States.

If a bad actor uses your trademark on his goods or services and such use confuses the public, you can bring a lawsuit against the bad actor for trademark infringement in Federal District Court.

If you're successful in your lawsuit, you may be able to obtain an injunction prohibiting them from using your trademark, as well as recovering any damages you sustained by the bad actor's use of your trademark.

Registering your trademark with the USPTO is fairly inexpensive and could be done for less than $300 if you're willing to prepare the trademark application and file it on your own. However, if you want the help of a service, you should expect to pay an additional $200 to $500 for online services to assist you with preparing your trademark application.

Copyright IP Protection

Copyrights protect original works of art, such as photos, songs, movies, novels, articles such as the one you're reading, poetry, and even computer software.

If you have an artistic work such as the ones we mentioned above, you should know that they're protected automatically under U.S copyright law the same moment you create the work.

Although registering your work is is not mandatory for protection, registering your work as a copyright with the U.S Copyright Office does have its benefits.

The main benefit of registering your work as a copyright with the copyright office is that you'll be able to bring a lawsuit for copyright infringement in Federal District Court against any party that infringes upon your registered work.

The only requirement for copyright protection is that you have a work of art that's fixed in a tangible medium of expression. This requirement is easily satisfied. Writing down a song, drawing on a sheet of paper, or saving information to a medium, such as a flash drive or hard drive satisfies this requirement.

So, by now, you may be wondering how long does copyright protection last?

Copyrights for artistic works created on or after January 1st, 1978 last for the life of the author plus an additional 70 years after his death. So, for most people, this protection is enough.

Registering your work as a copyright with the U.S Copyright Office is very easy and inexpensive, costing $35 to register a single piece of artwork. So, if you have a song, book, or piece of art that you want to protect, copyright registration is easily obtainable.

Trade Secret Intellectual Property Protection

According to the USPTO, a trade secret consists of "any information that can include a formula, pattern, compilations, program, device, method, technique, or process" that's used in business and gives the holder of such information an economic advantage over competitors who don't know the information.

Trade secrets are not registered with any entities, such as the USPTO or the Copyright Office, instead, it is the responsibility of the trade secret owner to take reasonable precautions to protect his trade secret.

Since trade secrets are not registered with anyone, they last for as long as they remain a secret. So, in reality, a trade secret could last forever, so long as the holder does not disclose it.

If you have a trade secret and you need to disclose it to perform your business, you should have the party with whom you're sharing your trade secret sign a confidentiality agreement.

Having them sign a confidentiality agreement could prove to be helpful if the party with whom you're sharing your trade secret misappropriates because it shows that you've taken reasonable steps to protect the trade secret and the information should qualify for trade secret protection under the law.

Some people choose trade secret protection over patent protection for a few reasons. The first reason is that trade secret protection could last forever, whereas a patent expires after 15 to 20 years, depending on the type of patent you have.

The second reason is that patenting an invention requires disclosing everything about your invention, product, or formula, including disclosing how it works, how to make it, and how it's used.

Once the patent expires, the public will be able to replicate the once patented invention and sell their own version of it. By opting not to patent your invention, you could profit from it indefinitely so long as no one reverse engineers it or learns how to copy it.

So, if you have an invention and you're wondering about how to approach protecting it, you now know that you can ask your attorney about the difference between patenting your invention or protecting it as a trade secret.

Frequently Asked Questions?

1) Should you protect your intellectual property?

Yes, if you have intellectual property that is valuable to you or your business, you should protect it. The type of protection you need depends on the type of IP that you want to protect. We included a great chart that should help you choose the property IP protection for your property. If you still don't know which protection you need, you should contact an attorney and ask them to assist you with choosing the correct protection.

2) What are the 4 main types of intellectual property protection?

As we have mentioned throughout this article, the four main types of intellectual property protection are (1) patents, (2) trademarks, (3) copyrights, and (4) trade secrets. We have included a table that should help you determine which type of IP protection is suitable for your specific case. If you have any additional questions, you should contact your attorney to assist you with choosing the proper IP protection.

3) How do you protect your intellectual property?

How you protect your IP depends on the type of property that you have. If you have an invention or a design, then patenting is the way to protect it. If you have a brand that customers use to identify you as the source of goods or services, then trademark registration may be the correct option. If you have artistic work, such as a song, movie, photo, or book, the correct protection is copyright law. If you have a secret that improves your business, protecting it as a trade secret may be the proper protection. So, the answer depends on the type of property you want to protect.

4) How long does intellectual property last?

  • Utility patents last for 20 years from the filing date of your patent application
  • Design patents last for 15 years from the date the patent office grants your design patent application
  • Trademarks may last forever so long as you continue to use them as a trademark
  • Copyrights last throughout the life of the author, as well as 70 years after the death of the author
  • Trade secrets can last forever, so long as the holder of the secrets continues to protect them as such

5) What is intellectual property (IP) law?

IP law is the section of law that protects intangible and tangible property, such as inventions, artistic works, and information used to give businesses an advantage over their competitors. IP law is becoming increasingly important for inventors who want to profit from their ideas and inventions.

Best Intellectual Property (IP) Protection

At this point, you should know the different forms of intellectual property protection that are offered under US law. Different forms of intellectual goods are protected by different mechanisms. Choosing the correct form of protection is vital to protecting your intellectual property. If you have any general questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.


what does a patent grant mean

What Does Patent Grant Mean?

Whether you're checking on the status of your own patent application or you're checking the status of someone else's patent, you might be wondering what does a patent grant mean? Read below to find out what a patent grant is.

What Does Patent Grant Mean?

According to the USPTO, a patent grant is the award of a property right by the USPTO to an inventor over an invention, process, machine, or design for a limited period of time. A grant of patent rights lasts for 20 years for utility patents and 15 years for design patents. Patent grants are made to applicants who have successfully prosecuted their patent applications.

A grant of patent rights only protects and inventor in the United States. A grant of patent rights allows an inventor to stop others from using, making, selling, offering to sell, and importing the patented invention to the United States without the patent holder's express permission for a limited period of time.

A utility patent grant allows inventors to stop others from using their invention, process, machine, or composition of matter without the patent holder's express permission for 20 years. The 20-year patent term begins at the time of filing a patent application with the patent office.

A design patent grant allows inventors to stop others from using design without the patent holder's express permission for 15 years. The 15-year patent term begins at the time the patent office grants a design patent application.

What Does Patent Status Grant Mean?

A patent grant status means that the USPTO has granted an inventors patent application and that the patent holder has been granted the right to restrict others from using, making, selling, and importing his invention to the United States without his express permission.

If you see a patent that is in its grant state, do not copy the invention, use it, or sell it unless you have the patent holder's permission. If you do use or sell the inventor's invention, the patent holder has the right to sue you for patent infringement in the United States.

What does patent issued mean?

Patent issued means the same as patent granted. Both terms are used to refer to a patent application that the patent examiner has approved after an applicant has successfully prosecuted his patent application. Both utility patents and design patents that are issued are granted.

Why does the patent office grant patents?

The patent office grants inventors patents over their inventions to encourage them to innovate because by inventors knowing that they control who uses and sells their invention they will be encouraged to invest their own time and money in creating new products and improve upon existing technology.

A patent grant gives an inventor a property right in his invention, allowing him to ask others to stop using, making, and selling his invention for a limited period of time.

That said, it is not the patent office's responsibility to stop others from using the patent holder's invention. If the patent holder suspects that someone is using or selling his invention without his permission, it is the patent holder's responsibility to find the bad actor and ask them to stop using his invention.

If the bad actor does list to the patent holder, the patent holder has the right to bring a lawsuit against the bad actor in Federal District Court for patent infringement.

If the patent holder is successful in his lawsuit, he may be awarded an injunction asking the bad actor to stop his infringing use. The patent holder may also be awarded monetary damages for any losses he sustained as the result of the bad actor's patent infringement.

What invention qualifies for a patent grant?

For an invention to qualify for an invention grant, the invention must (1) have patentable subject matter, (2) the invention must be new, (3) the invention must be non-obvious, and (4) the invention must be useful.

Patentable Subject Matter

The invention must have patentable subject matter means that the invention must be the sort for which patent law provides protection. The patent law offers protection for:

  • Invention
  • Process
  • Machine
  • Article of manufacture
  • Composition of matter
  • Software

Novel

The novelty requirement requires an invention to be new, something that has never been patented before and something that has not been publicly disclosed.

Nonobvious

To obtain a patent grant, an inventor must have an invention that is non-obvious, meaning that an ordinary person who is skilled in the field of the invention, would not have found the invention to be obvious at the time of filing the patent application.

Useful

The usefulness requirement is an easy requirement to satisfy and very rarely are invention denied patent protection on the grounds that they are not useful. You have to show that your invention provides some identifiable benefit to the public.

Types of Patent Grants

The USPTO offer three different types of patent grants:

  1. Utility Patent: A patent grant that is awarded to the inventor of a new process, machines, article of manufacture, or composition of matter.
  2. Design Patent: A patent grant that is awarded to the inventor of a new, original, and unique design for an article of manufacture.
  3. Plant Patent: A patent grant that is awarded to the inventor of a new species of asexually reproduced plant.

Patent Pending Does Not Equal Patent Grant

Patent-pending is given to any inventor who files a patent application with the USPTO. Having a patent-pending is not the same as a patent grant. A patent grant is given if, after the patent office examines a patent application, it determines that the invention meets the requirements for patentability.

Inventors have a patent-pending as soon as they file a provisional utility patent application, a nonprovisional (regular) patent application, or after filing a design patent application.

We often get a lot of questions about pending patents and so we want to clarify that a patent-pending invention is not a patent grant.

Since pending patent applications are not granted patents, an inventor does not have the right to restrict others from using, making, selling, and importing his invention to the United States until the patent office grants his patent application.

Once the patent office grants or awards an inventor a patent, the inventor can only then begin exercising his property rights in his invention.

Provisional Patent Pending

If an inventor files a provisional patent application, he will not be granted a patent unless he files a nonprovisional patent application within 12 months of filing his provisional patent application. If the patent approves a nonprovisional patent application, only then will an inventor be granted a patent and all the rights that come with holding a patent.

How to Check the Status of a Patent?

If you want to check the status of a patent or patent application, you can do so by heading over to the USPTO PAIR Site, which allows you to check the status of any patent application filed in the U.S.

If you find that the status of a patent application is pending, then the patent is not granted, so the applicant still does not have IP rights.

But, if the status of the patent application you're checking is granted, then the patent office has granted the patent application and the patent holder has the right to restrict others from using, making, and selling his invention in the United States.

Frequently Asked Questions at Patent Rebel

1. Is it worth it to patent your invention?

Absolutely, yes. Patent Rebel's take is that if you have an invention that you know you can profit from, you should prepare and file a patent application with the patent office. However, to be able to patent your invention, you need to make sure that no one else has already patented the same invention. If you have a valuable invention, you should contact an experienced patent attorney and have them explain your options for protecting your intellectual property.

2. Can you sue someone without a granted patent?

If the patent office has not yet granted or issued your patent, you cannot sue anyone for patent infringement because you don't have any intellectual property rights in your invention until the patent office issues your patent application. Once the patent office grants or issues your patent, you will be able to sue others who use or sell your invention or product without your express permission.

3. Why are patents and important?

Patents are important because, without them, anyone will be able to copy and replicate peoples' inventions without their permission and without any consequences. If this happens, inventors would not be encouraged to spend their money and time developing new products.

4. What is a provisional patent application?

A provisional patent application is a patent application that is filed with the patent office. Provisional applications are usually filed by inventors to reserve an early filing date for their invention. They are less expensive and can be quickly prepared and filed with the patent office. The downside of provisional patent applications is that they never turn into a granted or issued patent. To obtain a patent, an inventor must file a nonprovisional patent application within 12 months of filing a provisional patent application.


Design patent functionality

Design Patent Functionality

If you have a design that you want to protect, you've probably heard that you can only patent a design that is not functional. This is true, design patents can only protect the appearance of your invention, it cannot be used to protect the functional aspect of your invention. If you want to protect the functional aspect of your invention, the correct intellectual property protection is a utility patent and not a design patent. The main goal of this article is to discuss the functionality test for design patents.

Design Patent Functionality Requirement

Design patents protect the new and ornamental features of an article of manufacture. Said differently, design patents protect the appearance of an article or product and how it looks. Patent law does not allow inventors to use design patents to protect the primarily functional elements of an invention.

To be able to patent a design, the design must be separable from the functionality of the article to which the design is applied. Design patents do not cover the article of manufacture itself or its function, instead, design patents are used to protect the appearance of an article or good.

If you have a design that you want to protect, you should use solid lines to identify the design you want to protect and broken lines to indicate the environment of the article that you do not want to protect as part of your design patent. Said differently, broken lines illustrate what an applicant is not claiming as part of the design patent.

If you have to include the environment in which the claimed design is present, you can include it in your patent drawings, but you have to distinguish from the design you want to protect by using broken lines such as those shown in the image below.

In this design patent drawing, the air compressor design is claimed as the invention to be protected and the environment surrounding the air compressor, which is not to be protected is differentiated and pointed out by the use of broken lines.

Design Patent Functionality Test

To patent your design, the inventor must have made a conscious act to create the design to improve the appearance of the product or article of manufacture.

To determine the ornamentality of a design, the courts have asked whether a design is primarily functional and in doing so the court examines the elements of the design as a whole.

For a design to be ornamental, it must have been made for the purpose to improve the appearance of an article or product. It must not have been made to improve the function of an article.

When determining whether a design is primarily functional or primarily ornamental in nature, the design is looked at in its entirety. The design will not be looked at element by element, rather the article is looked at as a whole to determine whether the design actually improves the appearance of the article or whether it really improves the function of the article.

The initial burden to show that a design is not ornamental lies on the patent examiner to provide a prima facie case of unpatentability. The presence of lack of ornamentality must be made on a case-by-case basis.

To support a finding that your design is ornamental, it would help any applicants case to show that the design is something that the end-user of the article would see and notice the design by using the article of product. On the other hand, if the design is hidden during the normal use of the article, the design patent application may be rejected.

Obtaining Both a Design Patent and a Utility Patent

Inventors can obtain a design patent to protect the appearance of an invention and they can also obtain a utility patent to protect the functional aspects of the invention.

When illustrating how a design patent and utility patent can be obtained over the same invention, we always use the nail clipper example. Now to our nail clipper example. You can patent the functional aspects of a nail clipper, such as the hinges or mechanism that allows it to cut nails by using a utility patent and if the nail clippers have a unique handle, you can patent that handle using a design patent.

That said, if you want both design patent and utility patent protection, you need to apply for both patents separately, meaning you'll need to file a utility patent application and a design patent application.

If you have an invention where the utility and appearance are overlapping and cannot be separated, you should consult with an attorney on how to approach patenting your invention. Your attorney may recommend only filing a utility patent or he may recommend that you seek both types of patent protection depending on your specific circumstances.

Design patents are much easier and less expensive to obtain than utility patents. Utility patents are costly, mainly because of the time it takes an attorney to prepare your patent application. Design patents take a fraction of the time that utility patents take to prepare.

Also, utility patents cost more to file than design patent applications. However, if your design is important to your product because it's something that your customers consider when purchasing your product, you may want to invest the extra money in patenting the appearance of your invention.

That said, utility patents offer much stronger protection than design patents. This is so because utility patents protect how an invention works, so even if your competitor makes an invention looks different, if it works the same way your utility patented invention works, you will be able to stop them from using, making, selling, and importing your invention to the United States.

Counterfeiters are smart and they do know how to copy your invention without copying its appearance, so if you only have a design patent protecting how your invention looks, you're out of luck if the counterfeiter changes the way it looks.

But, if you have a utility patent, even if the counterfeiter changes the way your invention looks, you will have a remedy if they copy how your invention works. So, obtaining a utility patent is a very important form of intellectual property protection.

That said, having a design patent is still important, especially if the way your product looks is a selling point for it. So, ask your attorney about obtaining both a utility patent and a design patent. The utility patent protects how your invention works and the design patent will protect how it looks.

Design Patents vs Utility Patents

The basic difference between design patents and utility patents is that design patents protect how your invention looks and utility patents protect how your invention works.

Design patents are much cheaper to obtain than utility patents. It might cost you $2,000 to obtain a design patent, while it may cost you more than $8,000 to obtain a utility patent. However, it should be noted that utility patents protect far more than design patents.

As we mentioned above, it tends to be easier for a bad actor to design around the design of your invention to make a competing product look different than it is for a bad actor to design around the function of your invention. This is why utility patents tend to be a stronger type of intellectual property protection.

That said, design patents tend to have a much lower probability of being rejected by the patent office. Almost all utility patent applications are initially rejected, necessitating the applicant to make changes and/or amendments to the application before it's approved by the patent office. However, many design patents are approved without ever been rejected.

Benefits of Obtaining a Design Patent

If you patent the design of your invention, you will be able to stop others from using, making, selling, and importing an article that has the design you've patented. That said, it is the design patent holder's job to police his design to ensure that no else is using his design without his permission. The patent office only grants the patent rights to the patent holder, the patent holder is then responsible for enforcing his rights under patent law.

Frequently Asked Questions

1) What is a Design Patent Used For?

A design patent is used to protect how your invention looks. Said differently, it protects the ornamentality or appearance of your invention. You can obtain a design patent by applying using a design patent application.

2) Can You Patent a Design Concept?

You cannot patent a concept or an idea. To patent a design, you must have a design that's applied to an article of manufacture. You must be able to provide drawings of the design as applied to an object if you want to be able to patent it.

3) What Are the Three Types of Patents?

The patent office offers design patents, utility patents, and plant patents. This article focused on the two most popular patents: design patents and utility patents. As mentioned previously, design patents protect the appearance of an invention, while utility patents protect the function of an invention or how the invention works.

4) How Do You Avoid Design Patent Infringement?

To avoid design patent infringement, the design that you use must be different than any other design that has been issued a patent that is still active. If you have a design that was once patented but is no longer patent, you can use that design without committing patent infringement, however, make sure that the design is not protected by other forms of IP protection, such as copyright law and trademark law.

5) What is an Ornamental Design Patent?

An ornamental design patent is really just a design patent. Design patents protect the ornamental design of an object or how an article looks. All design patents are meant to protect how your invention looks.


Provisional vs Nonprovisional Patent

Provisional vs Nonprovisional Patent (What is the Difference)

If you have an invention that you want to patent, you may be wondering whether you should protect it using a provisional patent or a nonprovisional patent. While there is no such thing as a provisional patent, you can certainly file what is known as a provisional patent application. Also, inventors have the option of filing what is known as a nonprovisional utility patent application. We will explain the difference between a provisional patent application and a nonprovisional patent application in the section below.

Provisional vs Nonprovisional Patent

A provisional patent application is a type of patent application that reserves an early filing date for an invention but does not turn into a patent. A nonprovisional utility patent application is a regular patent application that does turn into a granted patent.

So, why is there even a provisional patent application?

First to File Rule

A provisional patent application is available because it's a cheap and effective way to obtain an early filing date for your invention if it is drafted properly. Obtaining an early priority date is important in the United States because the U.S is a first to file county that awards a patent to the first person to file a patent application (provisional or nonprovisional) with the patent office.

Filing a patent application as quickly as possible is important in the U.S because if you were the first person to invent an invention and someone else invents the same invention after you but files his patent application before you do, he will be awarded the patent and you will not be able to patent the same invention even though you invented it first.

For this reason, we have provisional patent applications. Provisional applications require much less information and are quite cheap to file when compared to regular, nonprovisional patent applications. This makes provisional patent applications a great tool to obtain an early filing date for your invention, especially if you're still working on it or you need some time to get investors to invest in your invention.

Patent Pending

After filing either a provisional patent application or a nonprovisional patent application, you will be able to mark your invention or product with the words patent pending. You will also be able to market your invention as patent-pending and adding the words patent pending to the product materials and/or product materials.

Note: If you do choose to file a provisional patent application instead of a nonprovisional patent application, you need to file a nonprovisional patent application within 12 months of filing your provisional application. If you do not file a nonprovisional utility patent application within the 12 month period, your application is abandoned and you will lose your early filing date.

Preparation & Filing

Preparing a provisional patent application is easier than preparing a nonprovisional patent application because provisional applications do not need to follow many of the formalities of a regular patent application. Also, provisional applications do not require formal patent claims, so provisional applications are not examined, they are only placeholders in time.

Since provisional patent applications don't turn into a granted patent unless a (regular) nonprovisional utility patent application is filed, preparing a provisional application that you can use as your early filing date is very important.

For you to benefit from the early filing date of an earlier-filed provisional application, the invention described in your nonprovisional patent application must be the same invention that you described in your provisional application.

The patent examiner will look at your provisional application and compare its description with the one in your nonprovisional application. If the patent examiner determines that the invention described in your provisional application is different, you will not be able to benefit from the earlier filing date.

When does this become a problem?

This becomes a problem if someone else files a patent application for the same invention after you've filed your provisional patent application. If the patent office does not allow you to benefit from your earlier filing date, the other patent application for the same invention will have priority over your invention.

Therefore, it's very important to take the time to properly describe your invention in the provisional patent application.

Many inventors view a provisional patent application as a cheap alternative that they don't have to put too much effort preparing, but the truth is that a provisional patent is very important and inventors should take the time to properly describe how to make their invention, as well as how to use it.

Hiring an Attorney or Patent Agent

It's best to hire an attorney to draft your provisional patent application for you. Making even seemingly minor mistakes could cause trouble down the road when it comes time to file a regular patent application.

If you don't have the funds to hire an attorney, you should consider the option of hiring a patent agent to prepare your provisional application for you. Patent agents are licensed by the patent office to assist inventors with preparing a provisional patent application and filing them with the patent office. Patent agents tend to charge less than patent attorneys.

Can You Make Changes to Your Provisional Patent Application?

Unfortunately, once you filed a provisional patent application you're stuck with the invention that you described in your provisional patent application.

If you've changed your invention from the time you filed your provisional application, the patent office may not allow you to benefit from the earlier filing date for the changes that you made to your invention.

As such, it's very important for you to take the time to adequately take your time to describe the invention you want to protect so that when the time comes to file your nonprovisional patent application, the invention you describe in your nonprovisional patent application will relate back to your provisional application and benefit from the earlier filing date.

Although drawings of your invention are not required for provisional patent applications, if they will help the patent examiner understand how your invention works, you should include them. Invention drawings will fill in the gaps left by the written description of your invention.

How Long Does it Take for a Provisional Patent to be Approved?

A provisional patent is not examined by the patent office and therefore it cannot be approved. Provisional patent applications are simply placeholders in time that hold a spot for your invention at the patent office.

As mentioned previously, a provisional patent application only lasts for 12 months. During the 12 month grace period, an inventor must either convert his provisional application into a nonprovisional application (rarely done) or an applicant must file a nonprovisional patent application that relates back to and claims the early filing date of an earlier-filed provisional patent application (commonly done).

If a provisional patent applicant does not file a nonprovisional patent application within the 12 month grace period, his provisional application will be abandoned and the early filing date lost.

Should You File a Provisional Patent Application?

If you have an invention that you're still working the kinks out of or you want to find investors to invest in your invention, you can file a provisional patent application to hold a spot in line for your invention.

Remember that the United States is a first to file country that awards the patent to the first inventor to file an not the first to invent. As such, obtaining a spot in line for your invention is necessary if you want to patent it.

Provisional patent applications are the quickest way to save that spot because they don't have to comply with many of the formalities of a regular nonprovisional patent application.

You often hear that provisional patents are cheaper and they do tend to cost less to prepare than nonprovisional patent applications, but it's imperative that you do not rush the preparation of your provisional application if you want to patent your invention later down the road.

Can a Provisional Patent Application Be Rejected?

A provisional patent application cannot be rejected because the patent office does not examine provisional applications. Provisional applications are only placeholders in time.

The patent office will look at your provisional patent application only if you choose to file a nonprovisional patent application within the 12 month grace period. If you file a nonprovisional patent application, the patent examiner at the patent office will look at your provisional application to determine whether the invention described in both applications match to allow the applicant to benefit from the early filing date.

Can You File a Provisional Patent Application Online?

Yes, you can file a provisional patent application online. The USPTO website allows you to add the required information about the inventor and the invention. They also allow you to upload the required documents and drawings. The patent office allows you to pay the required provisional patent application filing fees online.

Here is a great informative guide on how to file a provisional patent application online.

Just remember that if you're serious about patenting your invention, you should take the time to thoroughly prepare your provisional patent application to avoid trouble patenting your invention down the road. If preparing a strong provisional patent application means hiring an experienced patent attorney, then, by all means, hire an experienced patent attorney and have the job done properly.

Can You Extend Your Provisional Patent?

No, a provisional patent application cannot be extended beyond the 12 month grace period. If you want to keep your patent-pending status, you have two options. The first option is to file a nonprovisional patent application to continue patenting your invention or you can file another provisional patent application and that would restart the 12-month clock but you will lose your early filing date for the invention. If you want to know your options because contact your attorney and ask them what you should do. Every situation is different and your attorney will be able to offer you valuable advice.

Nonprovisional Patent Application vs Provisional Patent Application

A nonprovisional patent application is a full-fledged regular utility patent application that inventors file to patent their invention. A nonprovisional patent application can turn into a granted patent.

Inventors also have the option of filing a provisional patent application, which doesn't require formal claims and the formal requirements of a regular patent application, but a provisional application does not turn into a patent. If an inventor chooses to file a provisional application first, he has 12 months to file a regular, nonprovisional patent application to patent his invention.

We also covered topics, such as who a provisional patent application is right for, whether a provisional application can be rejected, and how long it takes to get a provisional patent.

If you have any general questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.


How to expedite a patent application?

How to Expedite a Patent Application?

Whether you've just finished working on your invention or you're just curious about how to expedite your patent application, you've come to the right place. The patent office offers applicants for both utility patents and design patents the ability to expedite their patent applications. We will discuss how to expedite a utility patent application and a design patent application below.

Can You Expedite a Patent Application?

Yes, you can expedite your patent application. The USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) offers applicants for utility patents, design patents, and plant patents the ability to expedite their patent applications. However, utility patent and design patents are expedited differently, we will show you how to expedite your patent application.

How to Expedite a Patent Application?

You can expedite your patent application by filing a request to expedite it. Utility patents and design patents are expedited differently. To expedite a utility patent, you can make a request to use the USPTO's Track One service. To expedite a design patent application, you can use what's known as Rocket Docket by filing a request to expedite your design patent application. By expediting your patent application, your application skips the long line of pending patent applications to the front of the line.

To use either of these services, an applicant typically has to make a request to expedite his patent application. For Track One services for regular (nonprovisional) utility patent application, an applicant must request to use Track One and the same goes for Rocket Docket for design patents.

How to Expedite a Utility Patent using Track One?

Track One promises applicants to either grant or deny a utility patent application with 12 months of an applicant being granted Track One status. That said, even though Track One promises to have a final disposition within 12 months, it currently only takes them 6 months to grant or deny a patent application.

So, if you have an invention that you want to patent as quickly as possible, it's best to request expedited examination under Track One. If your request is granted, you will likely be able to patent your invention within 6 months of being granted Track One status.

That said, Track One isn't free, an applicant must pay a fee to have his utility patent expedited. For micro-entities, the fee is $1,000, for small entities, it's $2,000, and large entities have to pay $4,000. This fee must be paid in addition to the normal fees associated with filing a utility patent application.

To get track one, an applicant must file a request for expedited examination. It currently takes the patent office 50 days to accept an individual into its Track One Program.

How to Expedite a Design Patent Using Rocket Docket?

Rocket Docket is used by applicants for design patents to expedite their design patent application. To obtain expedited examination for a design patent application an applicant must file a request for expedited examination in addition to filing a design patent application.

The request for expedited examination can be made at the time an applicant files his design patent application. However, if an applicant decides after filing a design patent application that he wants to expedite, he may later make a request for expedited examination.

If an applicant's request to have his design patent application expedited is approved, his design patent application skips the line of non-expedited patent applications. The entire process of examining a design patent application is faster by using Rocket Docket.

Like Track One for utility patent applications, Rocket Docket is not free. An applicant has to pay a fee to expedite his design patent application. The fee for micro-entities is $225, small entities pay $450, and large entities must pay $900.

Note: The fee that must be paid is in addition to the normal fees associated with filing a design patent application. If the fees for expediting your patent application are not sent, your application will proceed as a regular design patent application.

How to Speed Up the Process to Patent Your Invention?

  1. Make sure your patent application is completed properly

    When preparing a patent application, you need to make sure that you've properly described to the patent examiner how to make your invention, as well as how to use it. If you don't have experience preparing and filing a patent application, you should hire an attorney to assist you with its preparation and filing. This is so because making even seemingly minor mistakes could get your application rejected, costing you more time and money to fix the mistakes.
  2. Expedite your patent application by either using Track One or Rocket Docket

    If you don't want to wait for 24+ months to have your utility patent application granted or 18+ months for your design patent, you can use the methods we explained above to expedite the processing of your patent application. Just remember that you'll need to pay additional fees to expedite your patent application.

  3. Rush to the patent office to file your patent application

    The United States has a first to file system that awards a patent to the first person who files a patent application for an invention and not the first person who invents it. As such, if you have an invention that you want to patent, you should file a patent application as soon as you can.
  4. Track the status of your patent application

    After filing your patent application with the trademark office, your application will be assigned a serial number. You should periodically check the status of your application to see if the patent office needs any additional information or amendments to your patent application. Responding quickly and on time will help the patent examiner process your patent application as quickly as possible.

How Long Do Patent Applications Take Without Being Expedited?

Utility Patents

If you do not expedite your patent application, the application process will take much longer. White Track One for utility patents promises a disposition on your patent application within 12 months, it often takes as little as 6 months to get your patent approved.

On the other hand, if you do not expedite a utility patent application, it takes 24 months on average to get your utility patent application approved. So, if you have an invention that you want to patent as quickly as possible, Track one is the best option to speed up your patent application.

Design Patents

If you do not expedite your design patent using Rocket Docket, it currently takes 21 months to get your design patent application approved. So, if you want to patent your design as quickly as possible, you may want to file a petition to expedite your design patent application at the same time you file your design patent application.

Applicants who have filed a request to expedite their design patent application have seen their designs patented in less than 6 months. So, if time is of the essence, expediting your design patent application is the way to go to speed up the patenting process.

Frequently Asked Questions

1) What is a track one patent application

A track one patent application is a patent application that has been expedited using the USPTO's Track One service. Track One, often referred to as Track 1, is a service that promises to either grant or deny a patent application within 12 months. So, if you have an invention that you want to patent as quickly as possible, track one may the best option for you.

2) How long does a patent take to get approved?

Patent applications that have not been expedited take longer than those that have been expedited. For example, it takes the patent office 24+ months to approve a utility patent application and it takes them 20 months to approve a design patent application that has not been expedited. If you expedite a utility or design patent application, you should expect a disposition on your patent application within as little as 6 months.

3) How do you start the patenting process?

The patenting process is started by performing a prior art search to determine whether anyone has patented the invention that you want to patent. If your patent search turns up an invention that is similar to yours, the patent office will not allow you to patent something that has already been patented or something that has been publicly disclosed.

After you're finished conducting a prior art search, you need to prepare your patent application and file it with the patent office. At the time you file your patent application, you need to pay the filing fees and associated patenting fees.

Once you've filed your patent application, you need to communicate with the patent office and make any required amendments or changes to your patent application. If your invention satisfies the patenting requirement, the patent office will grant your patent application.

4) How to Get a Patent Faster?

As we mentioned previously, you can get a utility patent faster by requesting to use Track One to expedite your utility patent application or your plant patent application. If you want to expedite a design patent application, you can do so by requesting to expedite it using Rocket Docket.


design patent vs copyright protection

Design Patent vs Copyright Protection

If you have a design that you want to protect, you may be wondering how patenting your design with a design patent differs from protecting your design by registering it with the U.S Copyright Office for copyright protection. Both design patents and copyright protection protect new designs, but they are different forms of intellectual property protection. We will now explain the difference between protecting your design with a design patent vs protecting your design with a copyright.

Design Patent vs Copyright Protection

A design patent allows inventors to protect new, nonfunctional designs that are applied to an article by granting a patent holder the right to restrict others from using and selling their designs. On the other hand, copyright law protects expressions of art, such as photographs, artwork, photographs, songs, and sculptures.

Design Patents

Design patents are a form of intellectual property protection that protects how an object looks or its appearance, they do not protect the functional aspects of an object. If an inventor has a design that's functional, he can only protect it by applying for a utility patent and not a design patent.

If you want to protect your design with a design patent, you need to prepare and file a design patent application with the USPTO. Unlike copyright protection which is automatic in the US, patent protection is not. Instead, a designer needs to apply for a design patent.

To be able to patent a design, an applicant must show that his design is novel (new), nonobvious and that the design is applied to an article of manufacture.

Design patents cannot be used to protect general ideas, an inventor must have a specific design that he wants to protect. Only one design can be protected by a single design patent application.

So, why do inventors choose to protect their designs with design patents?

Inventors choose to protect their designs with design patents because design patents allow patent holders to restrict others from using, making, selling, offering to sell, and importing an object that has the patent holder's design to the United States.

It is the design patent holder's duty to find those infringing upon his design and ask them to stop their infringing activities. It is not the USPTO's job to police a patent holder's patent.

If a patent holder asks a party infringing upon his patent to stop the infringing use and they do not comply with his request, he can bring a lawsuit against that party for patent infringement in Federal District Court.

Copyright Law Protection

Copyright protection is another form of intellectual property protection that protects new works of art that have been fixed in a tangible medium. Copyright law protects things, such as paintings, movies, artwork, songs, sculptures, and computer software.

Copyright protection in the United States is automatic, however, the U.S Copyright Office allows artists who've created artistic works to register them with the Copyright Office for more robust intellectual property protection.

If you want to be able to sue anyone who reproduces your artwork without your permission in Federal Court for copyright infringement, you need to register your artwork with the Copyright Office.

So, if you expect that your artwork may be reproduced or distributed without your permission, you should register it with the copyright office as soon as you've reduced it to a tangible medium.

Which Protection Should You Choose?

If your design is applied to an article of manufacture, design patent protection is the proper type of protection and it's also the strongest type of protection you can get for your design.

Said differently, if you have a product that has a unique appearance, you can protect the appearance of your product by obtaining a design patent.

However, to be able to obtain a design patent over the design of your product, the design must not be functional. Said differently, the design cannot serve a purpose other than an aesthetic one.

For example, if you've invented a new type of nail clippers that has a new and unique design, you may be able to protect its design by patenting it with the patent office.

On the other hand, you will most likely be unable to protect its design with copyright law, unless there is something artistic about its design that can be separated from the article itself, which in the case of out hypothetical nail clippers is not possible because the design is part of the article.

So, if you have a product that has a new and unique appearance, the best intellectual property protection for your product is patenting its design using a design patent.

On the other hand, if you have a cool design that you've applied to a shirt that you want to sell and you don't want others to copy the design you've applied to a shirt, you should register your design with the copyright office because it is the sort of thing that the copyright office protects.

By registering your design with the copyright office, you will be able to bring a copyright infringement lawsuit against anyone who reproduces or distributes your design without your permission.

Why Do Copyrights Last Longer Than Patents?

Copyrights last longer than patent because copyrights are artistic works, so offering creators of artwork a long time of protection is desirable. Patents, on the other hand, are granted to inventors of new and unique invention, so allowing patents to last too long would hinder the advancement of technology because people would not be able to build upon existing patented inventions and designs.

It would hinder the advancement of technology because inventors will not be able to build upon or use patented inventions for a very long period of time. As such, the patent office set the patent term for utility patents to 20 years and the patent term for design patents for 15 years.

Once the patent term expires, the invention falls into the public domain name, allowing anyone to use, make, and sell the once patented invention, as well as to build upon it and improve it.

Why Do We Have Patents and Copyrights?

Patent law was created to encourage inventors to invention new inventions by offering them a monopoly over their invention for a limited period of time. Inventors can profit their invention for a limited period of time without having to compete with others that copied their invention.

This is so because a patent allows an inventor to stop others from using, making, selling, and importing the invention to the United States without their express permission.

However, in return for this monopoly, inventors must disclose in great detail how to make the invention to the public. Once a patent expires, the public is free to use, making, and sell the once patented invention without the permission of the patent holder.

On the other hand, copyrights allow artists who create new artistic works, such as songs, movies, plays, paintings, and sculptures to register their artistic work worth with the U.S Copyright Office to prevent others from reproducing and redistributing their artwork without their permission.

Copyrights last much longer than patents because they usually last throughout the life of the creator of the artwork and an additional 70 years after the life of the creator.

Length of Protection (Copyright vs Design Patent)

Copyright protection in the United States lasts for the life of the creator and an additional 70 years after the author passes away. Design patents, on the other hand, last for 15 years from the date the patent office grants a design patent application.

While copyright protection in the U.S is automatic, design patent protection is not. An artist has 12 months after publicly disclosing or offering the design for sale to file a design patent application with the patent office.

If an inventor does not file a design patent application within 12 months of publicly disclosing the invention or offering it for sale, he will not be able to patent the design.

Qualifying For Both Design Patent and Copyright Protection

Some intellectual property qualifies for both a design patent and copyright law protection. If you have a valuable design you should consider both patenting the design by filing a design patent application and registering the design with the copyright office for dual protection.

That said, to qualify for copyright protection, an artist does not need to register it with the copyright office because it's automatic but registering it allows an artist to sue others who make unauthorized use of his artwork in federal court.

Copyright vs Design Patent Protection

At this point, you should know the difference between a copyright and a design patent. Copyright protection protects artistic works, such as paintings, songs, and movies. Design patents protect new and unique designs that are applied to an object, such as the way a product looks. Copyright protection allows the copyright holder to stop others from distributing and reproducing his artistic work without his permission. Design patents allow inventors to stop others from using, making, and selling an article that incorporates the patent holder's design. If you have any general questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.


What are the parts of a patent application

What Are the Parts of a Patent Application?

What Are the Parts of a Patent Application?

According to the USPTO, a patent application has the following components or parts:

  • Patent Application Specification
    • Title of your invention
    • Cross-referencing related application(s)
    • Statement regarding public disclosure of the invention by the inventor(s)
    • Statement providing the field of the invention
    • Description of the related prior art
    • Brief Summary of the invention
    • Description of the invention's drawings
    • A detailed description of the invention
    • Invention claims
    • Abstract of the disclosure
  • Invention Drawings
  • Oath or declaration
  • Paying filing fee

We will now discuss each of the previously listed parts of a patent application in more detail below.

Title of Your Invention

The title for your invention should be placed on the heading of the first page of the specification. The title should describe the invention you're seeking to patent. If your invention performs a variety of functions, it may be difficult to name your invention, so if you have this problem, you may want to contact an attorney to find the most suitable title for your invention.

If you choose a title for your invention that does not accurately describe your invention, the patent examiner may request that you change the title. Also, you want to choose an appropriate title for your invention because it is the first thing that a patent examiner will look at, so making a good first impression is extremely important.

When creating a title for your invention, do not use words, such as "new" "improved" or "improvement of." Also, words such as "a," "an" and "the" should not be used in the title of your invention. If you use such words, the patent examiner may request that you change the title for your invention by removing them.

Note: The title for your invention must not exceed 500 characters in length. It's best to choose the shortest descriptive title that accurately tells the patent office and the public what your invention is all about.

Cross Referencing Related Patent Applications

You should cross-reference any related patent applications by including them in the Cross Reference section of your patent application. Cross-referencing a previously filed provisional patent application is important and mandatory if you want to benefit from the early filing date of your provisional patent application.

The reference to a provisional patent application can be done either in the patent application specification or the patent application datasheet.

You can cross-reference an earlier filed provisional patent application by including the following text:

"This application claims the benefit of U.S Provisional Patent Application ###,###,###, filed on January 1st, 2020."

You can cross-reference an earlier-filed nonprovisional patent application by including the following text:

"This application is a continuation of U.S Patent Application Number ###,###,###, filed on January 1st, 2020."

Statement Regarding the Public Disclosure Of the Invention by the Inventor(s)

As you may know, an inventor cannot patent an invention that he publicly disclosed or offered for sale more than 12 months prior to filing either a provisional or nonprovisional patent application. So, an inventor must include a statement that lists whether you publicly disclosed your invention prior to filing a patent application.

Publicly disclosing an invention includes publishing the invention online, writing about it in a magazine, and listing it on your website. If you publicly disclosed your invention, you should include such disclosure in your patent application.

Statement Providing the Field of the Invention

Every U.S patent application must include a statement as to the field that the subject matter of the claimed invention relates to. Applicants can title this section as the "Technical Field" of the invention. For example, if you want to patent a computer processor, the field would be "Electronic Digital Data Processing."

Description of Related Prior Art

Every applicant for a patent must conduct a prior art search prior to preparing his patent application. The applicant must include a description of the prior art that his related prior art search turned up.

Applicants should include prior art that's similar to their invention and how the invention they're currently seeking to patent differs from that art. Inventors can point to prior art and explain how their invention solves problems that prior art has not been able to solve.

Applicants can title this section as the "Background Art" section in their patent application.

Brief Summary of the Invention

According to the USPTO, every patent application should include a brief summary of the invention that comes before the detailed description of your invention.

The summary of your invention should be able to describe the specific invention you're seeking to protect to the public, as well as the patent examiner.

The summary of your invention should explain how your invention operates, as well as the purpose of your invention. When writing a summary for your invention, make sure to use easy to understand and clear terms.

You want an ordinary person to be able to understand what the invention you're patenting is.

Description of the Invention's Drawings

Most applicants will and should include drawings of their invention because drawings help fill in the gaps that are left by the written description. An applicant must provide a brief description of each of the included drawings.

When describing a drawing of an invention, an applicant should refer to the different drawings or figures by identifying the figure or drawing number. Applicants can refer to different parts of the same drawing by using reference numerals or letters.

A Detailed Description of the Invention

After you've prepared and included a brief description of the invention and a brief description of the drawings, it's time to add a detailed description of your invention.

You will know that you have satisfied the detailed description of your invention requirement if your description will enable a person skilled in the field of your invention to understand how to make your invention, as well as how to use it without having to experiment too much with it.

Invention Claims

Invention claims are usually added after the detailed description of the invention. No other material can be added to a sheet that has patent claims.

Every patent application should include claims, claiming the subject matter of the invention. Utility patents can include more than one patent claim. Patent applications typically have independent claims, as well as dependent claims.

Dependent claims usually refer to an independent claim and they limit the scope of the independent claim.

The broadest claims should be placed as the first claim, and all other, narrower claims should come after it.

Claims should be numbered consecutively in Arabic numerals.

If the patent examiner rejects and cancels a claim of an invention, the remaining claims should not be renumbered, they should retain their original numbering.

Abstract of the Disclosure

In the section after the patent claims, an inventor must include the abstract of the disclosure. The abstract of the disclosure is included to allow the public to quickly and easily get an idea of the nature and type of the invention disclosed in the patent application.

The abstract should disclose what's new about the invention. If your invention improves upon an existing invention, this should be pointed out in the abstract of the disclosure.

The abstract of the disclosure should identify the invention as one of the following:

  • A machine (how it operates)
  • An article (method for making it)
  • A chemical compound (identity and use of it)
  • A mixture of ingredients
  • A process (steps for the process)

The abstract of the disclosure should be included on a separate sheet of paper and organization wise, it should come after the claims of your invention.

Typically, abstracts should be no longer than 150 words, or one paragraph. The abstract should be concise and easy to understand.

If your abstract does not comply with these requirements, the patent office can reject it, requiring you to make changes before your patent application is examined.

Invention Drawings

Should You Include Them?

We often get asked whether a patent application should include drawings of an invention? The short answer is that drawings are required whenever they're necessary for the public or patent examiner to understand your invention.

Drawings are almost always required because they help explain how to make your invention and how to use it.

Drawings should show every feature of the invention you're claiming in your patent application.

Patent drawings must be included in your patent application because they cannot be added later because the patent office does not allow applicants to add new matters after an applicant's filing of his patent application.

Invention Drawing Requirements

The patent office requires that patent drawings be made with black ink on white paper. If you're filing your patent application online, you should save your patent drawings in PDF format. If you have drawings of your invention that you made by hand, you should scan your drawings and save them as a PDF and include them with your patent application.

Your invention drawings should be numbered, starting with 1, going up to whatever number of drawings you're including in your patent application.

All page numbers should be included on the top middle portion of the sheet of paper. That said, when we say the top, the number should not be placed in the top margin of the paper, instead, the number should be placed in the top middle portion of the sheet of paper after the margin.

Oath or Declaration

When preparing a patent application, an applicant must name the inventor or inventors responsible for inventing the invention claimed in a patent application.

According to the USPTO, every inventor for the invention claimed in the patent application must give an oath or declaration that (1) the application was made by or authorized by the declarant (person making the declaration), and (2) the person making the declaration believes himself to be the original inventor of the claimed invention.

Patent Application Fees

The patent application fees include:

  • Basic utility patent application filing fee: $75
  • Utility patent search fee: $165
  • Utility patent examination fee: $190
  • Utility patent issue fee: $250
  • Each claim in excess of 20 claims: $25
  • Each independent claim in excess of 3 claims: $115
  • Each additional 50 sheets in excess of 100 sheets: $100

What is the Most Important Part of a Patent Application?

The most important part of a patent application is the claims part of a patent application. Claims define the scope of the invention that's protected by the patent application. It defines what an inventor claims as his invention.

The claims portion of a patent application defines the scope of what the patent holder can stop others from doing with his invention. The broader the scope of a patent application, the more things a patent holder can restrict others from doing with his invention.

Parts of a Patent Application

At this point, you should know the different patent application parts. The USPTO has strict rules that must be followed by applicants for a utility patent and a design patent. Although the patent office allows inventors to prepare and file their own patent application, it does recommend that inventors hire an attorney to prepare, file, and prosecute their patent application. We covered all the main parts of a patent application. If you have any general questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.


what are utility patents

What Are Utility Patents?

Whether you're an inventor who wants to protect his invention or you're just interested in learning what a utility patent is, you've come to the right spot. The USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office) offers inventors the ability to protect their invention by obtaining a patent on them. So, what are utility patents? We will cover this below.

What Are Utility Patents?

Utility patents are an intellectual property right that allows patent holders to restrict others from using, making, selling, offering to sell, and importing his patented invention to the United States for a limited period of time. Utility patents last for 20 years from the date an inventor files his utility patent application with the patent office.

A utility patent can be acquired by an inventor who has created a new machine, invention, process, or composition of matter. Said differently, a utility patent can be obtained to protect how a product works and how it's used by the end-user.

Once a utility patent application is approved or granted by the USPTO, an inventor can stop others from using, making, and selling the patented invention or product.

An inventor does not have the right to control who uses, makes, and sells his invention until the patent office grants his patent application. While a patent application is pending at the patent office, an applicant cannot sue anyone for patent infringement.

Utility patents are a very important form of intellectual property rights that offer inventors tremendous protection and control over their invention. They allow inventors to exclusively profit from their invention by excluding others from making and selling the patented invention.

That said, obtaining a utility patent can cost a lot of money. A simple straightforward utility patent for a simple invention could cost anywhere from $8,000 to $15,000, with more complex inventions costing more than $15,000 to patent.

How to Get a Utility Patent For an Invention?

For an inventor to get a utility patent for his invention, he must prepare and file a utility patent application with the USPTO. Prior to preparing a patent application, an inventor must be able to describe how his invention works, as well as how his invention can be used by the end-user.

Also, an inventor cannot patent an invention or machine that has been patented by others or has been disclosed to the public. As such, an inventor must conduct a prior art search to determine that his invention is new and has never been patented or publicly disclosed.

It's critical to conduct a prior art search prior to preparing and filing a patent application. It's critical because patenting an invention costs a lot of money and if you find that someone else has already patented the same invention, it's not worth pursuing a patent because the patent office will reject your patent application if someone else has already patented the same invention.

That said, if your prior art search does turn up inventions that are similar to yours, you can proceed by patenting your invention by either filing a provisional patent application or filing a regular, nonprovisional utility patent application.

Although the patent office allows inventors to patent their own invention, they do recommend that applicants without experience patenting an invention hire an attorney to assist them with preparing their patent application, filing it, and prosecuting it.

After preparing a utility patent application, what should inventors do?

After preparing a utility patent application, an inventor needs to file his application with the patent office. When filing a patent application, an inventor must pay the patent office filing fees, patent search fees, and patent examination fees.

To obtain a utility patent, an inventor must be able to explain these two things in his patent application. Although an inventor does not need to have a working prototype of his invention to patent it, he must be able to describe in much detail how to make his invention and how to use it.

What Do Utility Patents Protect?

Utility patents protect the functional aspects of a new machine, invention, process, or composition of matter. Said differently, utility patents protect how an invention works and how an invention is used by consumers or others.

Utility patents allow inventors to restrict others from using, making, selling, offering to sell, and importing the patented invention to the United States for a limited period of time. Utility patents grant inventors this right for 20 years, starting from the moment an inventor files his utility patent application with the patent office.

The great thing about utility patents is that they protect how an invention works or how it achieves its desired result. This means that if someone else creates an invention that looks different from an inventor's invention but internally works the same way or uses the same steps to achieve the desired outcome, a patent holder will still be able to stop that party from using, making, and selling that product or invention.

That said, it is a patent holder's job to look for bad actors who are using, making, or selling his patented invention without his express permission and asking them to stop using it. The patent office only grants patent rights, it does not enforce them, instead, it's the patent holder's job to enforce his rights.

If an inventor finds someone who is making unauthorized use of his invention, he can send them a cease and desist letter, asking them to stop the infringing use of his invention.

If the party does not stop its unauthorized use, the patent holder can bring a lawsuit against the bad actor in Federal District Court for patent infringement.

If the patent holder is successful in his lawsuit against the bad actor, he may be able to obtain an injunction to stop the infringer from using, making, and selling the patented invention. In some circumstances, inventors can even obtain monetary damages for any losses the patent holder sustained as a result of the bad actor's infringement.

How Long Do Utility Patents Last?

Utility patents last for 20 years from the date an applicant applies for a utility patent application. If an inventor files a regular, nonprovisional patent application, the patent term starts from the date an inventor files his nonprovisional utility patent application.

On the other hand, if an inventor files a provisional patent application and then files a nonprovisional patent application that claims the benefit of an earlier-filed provisional patent application, an invention will have a priority date of provisional application and the patent term would start from the date of filing the nonprovisional utility patent application. This effectively offers a patent term of 21 years.

For example, if an inventor files a provisional patent application on January 1, 2019, and files a nonprovisional patent application that claims the earlier filing date of the provisional patent application on January 1, 2020. The patent term would be 20 years and the patent would expire on January 1, 2040. The patent term begins at the time of filing the nonprovisional patent application.

Note: If an inventor chooses to file a provisional application, he should know that a provisional application can never turn into a granted patent, meaning that for an inventor to obtain a patent, he must file a regular, nonprovisional patent application that relates to an earlier-filed provisional application.

A nonprovisional patent application must be filed within 12 months of filing a provisional application. If a nonprovisional application is not filed within the 12 month grace period, a provisional application will be deemed to have been abandoned and the application will lose the early filing date obtain by the provisional application.

Can a Utility Patent Be Renewed After It Expires?

A utility patent cannot be renewed after it expires. Once a patent expires because the patent term has ended, it cannot be renewed. At this expiration of the patent term, the patented invention falls into the public domain, meaning that anyone can use, make, and sell the patented invention without having to obtain the patent holder's permission to do so.

Inventors often seek to prolong their monopoly over an invention by coming up with improvements to their existing invention and patenting those improvements. That patent office allows inventors to patent improvements to an invention so long as some requirements are met.

For example, if an inventor had a patent on a chair for 20 years and the patent expired, the inventor may be able to obtain an improvement to such an invention, such as developing a rocking chair.

In this example, while an inventor may have an improvement patent for a rocking chair, he can only stop others from making a rocking chair but he cannot stop others from making a regular chair that was once patented.

What is the Difference Between a Utility Patent and a Design Patent?

The difference between a utility patent and a design patent is that a utility patent protects how an invention works and how it's used by others, whereas a design patent protects how an invention looks or its appearance.

For example, if you have a pair of nail clippers, a utility patent can be obtained to protect how the nail clippers work and how a person uses the nail clippers to clips his nails.

In this example, a design patent may be obtained to protect how the nail clippers look, but to obtain a design patent over the appearance of nail clippers, the nail clippers must have a new and unique appearance that no other nail clippers have.

Design patents cannot be used to protect the functional aspects of the nail clippers because design patents can only be used to protect purely aesthetic aspects of nail clippers.

How Much Does it Cost to Obtain a Utility Patent?

Obtaining a utility patent on a simple and straightforward invention usually costs anywhere between $8,000 and $15,000, depending on the complexity of the invention you're seeking to patent, as well as the geographical location of your attorney. Attorneys in different places charge different amounts.

If you can't afford an attorney, you should consider hiring a patent agent to assist you with the preparation of your utility patent application, filing it with the patent office, and prosecuting for you. Patents agents are qualified and licensed by the patent office to assist inventors with patenting their inventions.

What is a Utility Patent?

At this point, you should know that a utility patent is an intellectual property right that is granted to inventors who create new inventions, machines, processes, and patent them with the patent office. A utility patent allows patent holders to control who uses, makes, sells, and imports the patented invention to the United States. A utility patent lasts for 20 years from the date an inventor files his patent application with the patent office. That said, once a utility patent expires, the patented invention falls into the public domain, allowing the public to use, make, and sell the once patented invention. If you have any general questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.


how long does a provisional patent take to get

How Long Does a Provisional Patent Take to Get?

Whether you've finished working on your invention or you're still working on it, you might be wondering about protecting it with a provisional patent. We are here to tell you that although there is no such thing as a provisional patent, you're probably referring to filing a provisional patent application. A provisional patent application is often referred to as a provisional patent. How long does it take to file a provisional patent application? We will answer this below.

How Long Does a Provisional Patent Take to Get?

As we previously mentioned, there is no such thing as a provisional patent, but inventors can file a provisional patent application to obtain a priority date for their invention. You can apply for a provisional patent application as soon as you can explain how your invention works and how it can be used. You do not need to have a working prototype of your invention to file a provisional patent application. So, how long it takes to file a provisional patent application depends on how quickly you can prepare and file a provisional patent application with the USPTO. Here is an awesome and detailed guide on how to file a provisional patent.

To get a provisional patent application, you need to be able to describe your invention, how it works, and how it's made. You will also need to disclose basic information, such as the name of the inventor, his home address, and the correspondence address to file a provisional patent application. Also, you'll need to pay a small filing fee to file a provisional patent application.

Once you've filed a properly prepared provisional patent application, you'll be able to market your invention or product as patent pending.

The most important reason that inventors opt to file a provisional patent is to obtain an early filing date for their invention. This protects the inventor from other inventors who may file a patent application for the same invention.

By obtaining an early filing date, the inventor's invention will have priority over them, meaning if the inventor's invention meets the patenting requirement, he will get the patent and subsequent filers won't be able to patent the same invention. Said differently, a provisional application saves a place in line for your invention, the first invention in line gets the patent, while other invention that are the same are booted.

Obtaining an early filing date for an invention is very important in the United States because the U.S has a "first to file rule" that awards the patent to the inventor that first files a patent application and not necessarily to the first person who invents an invention.

Do Provisional Patents Offer Protection?

Provisional patents (correctly known as filed provisional patent application) do not grant the inventor patent rights. This means that while a patent application is pending, an inventor or applicant does not have any patent rights to enforce against others, meaning an applicant cannot restrict others from using, making, selling, and importing the patent-pending invention to the United States.

Applicants only obtain the right to control who uses, makes, or sells their invention after the patent office grants their patent application.

Since filing a provisional patent application does not grant an inventor the right to restrict others from using, making, and selling his invention, inventors cannot sue parties that use or sell his invention without his permission. So, if you're an inventor, it's very important that you patent your invention as quickly as possible so that you can control who uses, makes, and sells your invention.

That said, adding the words patent pending should fend off bad actors from copying your invention because it signals to them that you're in the process of obtaining patent protection for your invention or product. However, including the designation does not guarantee that no one will copy your invention and sell it.

Having said that, if someone copies your invention and sells it, you may stop them from doing so if the patent office grants your patent. You can bring a lawsuit for patent infringement against them.

Filing a Nonprovisional Patent Application Within 1 Year of Your Provisional Patent Application

Although a provisional patent application reserves an early filing date for an inventor's invention, it does not turn into a patent. A provisional patent application just reserves a filing date, to obtain a patent, an inventor must file a nonprovisional patent application within 12 months of filing his provisional application.

The second, but rarely used option an inventor has is to convert his provisional patent application into a nonprovisional patent application, but filing a petition to convert instead of filing a nonprovisional patent application that references an earlier filed provisional application, is that an inventor loses the benefit of an earlier filing date by converting his provisional application.

If an inventor fails to file a regular, nonprovisional patent application within the 12 month grace period, his provisional application will be abandoned and he will lose the early filing date obtained by filing his provisional application.

What Do Inventors Do After Filing a Provisional Application

During the 12 month period following filing a provisional patent application, some inventors choose to pitch their inventions to investors who are interested in purchasing the rights to an invention either as patent-pending or as a granted patent. Some inventors look for licensing opportunities to license their inventions or products for others to use in exchange for a licensing fee or agreed upon royalty.

Some inventors have often not finished working on their invention, so they use the 12 month period to continue working on their invention, working out any kinks, and perfecting it so that they can describe it as accurately as possible in their regular, nonprovisional utility patent application.

For some inventors, the 12 month grace period allows inventors to take the time to prepare their nonprovisional patent application without having to worry about another party patenting their invention.

Again, a provisional application if prepared properly reserves an invention's place in line and gives the applicant's invention priority over other inventions that are the same.

Requirements to Get a Patent After Filing a Provisional Patent Application

If an inventor wants to patent his invention, he must file a nonprovisional patent application within 12 months of filing a provisional patent application. However, for an inventor to benefit from the early filing date of his provisional application, the description of the invention in the nonprovisional patent application must match the description the inventor provided in his provisional application.

If the patent examiner determines that the descriptions don't match, he will not allow the inventor to benefit from the earlier filed provisional application. On the other hand, if the invention described in the regular patent application matches the description of the invention in the provisional application, the patent examiner will proceed with the patent application.

Frequently Asked Questions

1) How long does a provisional patent last?

A provisional patent application gives inventors a 12 month grace period during which to file a nonprovisional (regular) utility patent application. After an inventor files a provisional patent application, he can market his invention as patent pending. He can also use patent-pending status to attract potential investors.

2) How to Get a Patent Pending?

The quickest, cheapest, and easiest way to get a patent-pending is by filing a provisional patent application with the USPTO. By filing a provisional application with the patent office, inventors and applicants can immediately begin marketing their product as patent pending. They can include the designation on the product itself, its packaging, and its accompanying materials.

3) How much does it cost to get a patent pending?

The USPTO charges applicants who are classified as micro-entities $70 to file a provisional patent application, small entities are charged $140 to file a provisional application, and large entities are charged $280. That said, it's wise to hire an attorney to assist you with the preparation of your provisional patent application. Attorneys typically charge anywhere between $2,500 to $3,500 to prepare and file a provisional application. However, you have to take into consideration that attorney fees vary greatly, depending on the complexity of your invention and where you attorney is located.

4) How long does it take to get a patent?

According to numbers from the USPTO, it currently takes inventors approximately 24 months to get their invention patented from the time they file their regular, nonprovisional patent application with the patent office. That said, the amount of time it takes for your individual application may be different depending on how well your application is drafted and the complexity of your invention. You should contact your attorney and ask them about your specific patent application.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Provisional Patent?

Inventors can get a provisional patent as quickly as they can prepare and file a provisional patent application. Filing a provisional patent application with the USPTO is fairly straightforward, easy, and inexpensive. However, applicants should hire an attorney to prepare and file a provisional patent for them. Making even seemingly minor mistakes in a provisional application could cause trouble down the road when the time comes to file a nonprovisional patent application. That said, if you have any general questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.


Design patent pending

Design Patent Pending

Inventors want to protect their invention as quickly as possible and display "patent pending" on their new invention or product to tell the world that they have taken the legal steps to protect their invention. We will discuss what design patent pending is, as well as how you can protect your design with the patent-pending designation.

What is Design Patent Pending?

Design patent pending is a legal status for an invention that can be obtained by filing a design patent application with the USPTO (United States Patent and Trademark Office). An inventor who files a design patent application with the patent office can immediately begin using the "patent pending" designation on the article or product that bears his patent-pending design.

An inventor can continue to use this designation until the patent office either grants or denies his patent application. If the patent office grants an inventor's design patent application or denies it, an inventor can no longer use the designation.

Many inventors file design patent applications to not only patent their invention but also to gain the ability to use the patent-pending designation. The designation can be a good tool to market your invention to the public and investors who see value in a product that is patent pending.

The main function of patent-pending is that it serves to inform the public that an inventor has taken the legal steps to protect his invention and that infringers may be legally liable for infringing upon an inventor's design patent.

Note: Patent-pending status does not allow inventors to stop others from using, making, or selling the patent-pending design. An inventor can only stop others from using, making, and selling an article bearing the inventor's design when the patent office grants the inventor's design patent application.

How to Get Design Patent Pending?

An inventor can get a design patent pending by preparing a design patent application, filing it with the USPTO, and paying the applicable filing fees.

The patent office allows inventors to prepare, file, and prosecute their own design patent application. However, they do recommend that inventors seek the assistance of an experienced patent attorney to prepare their patent application, make drawings for the design, and to file it with the patent office.

Once you or your attorney file a design patent application with the patent office, you can immediately begin marketing and advertising your product as patent pending. You can add the term patent pending to the product bearing your design, product packaging, and product materials.

Patent-pending status is immediate, the moment you file your design patent application, you can begin using the patent-pending designation.

How Long Does it Take to Get a Design Patent Pending?

Patent-pending status can be obtained as soon as you file your design patent application with the USPTO. The time it takes to get a design patent pending depends on how much time it takes you or your attorney to prepare a design patent application and file it with the USPTO. It typically takes attorneys between 1 week to 2 weeks to prepare and file a design application. The time it takes your attorney depends on how busy your attorney is and the complexity of the design you want to patent.

How Much Does it Cost to Get a Design Patent Pending?

It costs anywhere from $50 to $200 to file a design patent application. Micro entities pay $50 to file a design patent application, small entities pay $100, and large entities pay $200. That said, the majority of the cost associated with patenting a design is attributable to the attorney fees that an inventor has to pay an attorney to prepare a design patent application.

Attorneys typically charge $2,500 to $3,500 to prepare and file a design patent application. Lawyers may charge more if they have to communicate with the patent office on your behalf or if they have to make amendments or changes to the patent application. So, in total, you're looking at approximately $3,000 to patent your design.

When Can You Use Design Patent Pending?

You can use the "patent pending" designation as soon as you file a design patent application with the USPTO. You can use the designation on an article that incorporates your design, on product packaging, and other written materials. Just remember to make it clear as to what is patent pending in your invention.

Is Patenting Your Design Worth It?

Patenting your design is worth it if you know that you can profit from your design. If you have a product that sells well and it sells well because of its appearance or design, you should patent the design because it provides you with value. On the other hand, if your design isn't unique and doesn't add any value to the article to which it is applied, then it may not be worth your time and money to patent it. That said, you should consult with your own attorney to determine whether your design is worth patenting.

Can You Sell Something that is Design Patent Pending?

If you've applied your design to an article, you can sell the patent-pending article without any issues. Make sure to include the term "patent pending" on your article to serve as a warning to others who may want to copy your design. Of course, including the warning does not guarantee that your product won't be copied and sold by others, but it makes proving intentional patent infringement much easier because the designation itself serves as notice to others that the article will be legally protected in the future.

Going from Design Patent Pending to Patented Design

It currently takes the patent office 20.5 months to either grant or reject a design patent application. While a design patent application is pending, the patent examiner may communicate with the patent holder or his attorney to ask any questions or request that changes be made to the patent application.

However, most design patent applications are approved without any issues. So, hiring an experienced patent attorney to prepare and file your patent application is the best thing you can do to ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible. Experienced patent attorneys may charge more upfront, but they may save you money in the long run.

Once the USPTO grants your design patent application, you will be able to restrict others from using, making, selling, offering to sell, and importing an article or product that bears your design, without your express permission. If a bad actor uses, makes, or sells your design without your permission, you can send them a cease and desist letter, asking them to stop their infringing behavior.

If they don't comply, you can enforce your rights by bringing a lawsuit against them in federal district court for patent infringement.

How to Speed Up Getting Your Design Patented?

You can speed up the examination and processing of your design patent application by filing a request for expedited examination using Rocket Docket. Rocket Docket cuts the time required to obtain a patent grant from 21 months to less than 6 months. Some applicants have reported obtaining a patent in as little as 4 months. So, if you have a design that you not only want to get patent-pending, but you actually want to patent, rocket docket will help you jump the line and get your patent approved in as little as 4 months.

Design Patent Pending

At this point, you should know that design patent pending means that an inventor has applied for patent protection for his design, but the patent office has not yet approved his patent application. Applicants who have a design that is patent-pending can use the patent-pending designation to advertise their product as pending a patent and they use the designation to ward off potential bad actors who may copy and sell the design. If you have any general questions or comments, please feel free to leave them in the comments section below.