How To Apply for A Patent

Getting the hands on a patent takes only a short list of steps to do. Once the United States Patent and Trademark Office gives the inventor the patent, no one can produce the same invention for 20 years.

Inventors can secure their right to their invention by getting a patent from the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Patents are easy to get in America.

State the invention description and the claim, and file.

1. Find out if any other person has patented the invention. Do a patent search. Americans can find other inventors and their inventions by using an online search at

2. Decide to apply for a provisional or a nonprovisional patent. Inventors can get a filing date for their invention by filing for a provisional patent. Use the date for the nonprovisional patent application. Do not use after 12 months.

A nonprovisonal patent secures the right to the invention. A patent examiner examines this application. No examination is needed for a nonprovisional patent. It is a quick and inexpensive application.

3. Any questions the USPTO does not answer? Consider consulting with a registered patent attorney or agent.

Before asking, try looking up the laws and regulations. The patent laws are found in Title 35 of the U. S. Code. The regulations are in Title 37 of the Code of Federal Regulations.

4. Get ready to file. Look up the fees to know how much the application will cost. Visit to find the fees.

Apply for a customer number and digital certificate.

Get the forms to fill in. They are available online at the USPTO site. The two main forms are the Patent Application Tansmittal Fee form and the Fee Transmittal form.

Gather the things needed for the application. It takes white paper in an 8 1/2 x 11 inch or A4 size. Black ink. And, a typewriter or a printer-mechanical or computer.

5. File patent application with the USPTO. There are three ways to file the application and documents. Electronic filing on EFS-Web at the USPTO online. By U. S. mail. And, hand delivery to the patent office in Alexandria, Virginia.

A complete application has several parts. A written specification is the first. It states the title of the invention and a written description. In the description, state the things any person skilled in the art or science needs to know to make and use the invention. A complete specification states the means and processes the inventor chooses to make and use their invention. One last thing needed to register a patent. State the claim.

Then state the work was done by the person who is the original and first inventor. Make a declaration or an oath. The oath is sworn before a notary public or other officer authorized to administer an oath. No witness is required for a declaration. Sign the first name, middle initial, and last name.

Bibliographic information and information that can be used for correspondence is written in an application data sheet. The sheet is a voluntary part of an application.

If necessary, use drawings or photographs to illustrate the invention. Illustrate in black and white or in color.

Put the two main forms at the front.

6. The patent officer examines the application. They decide to allow or not allow the patent.

7. Pay fees. There is the patent issue, publishing, and maintenance fees to pay. Maintenance fees are paid 3 1/2, 7 1/2, and 11 1/2 years after the filing date.

Remember to pay the search fee.

8. USPTO grants the patent.

One final thing to do. Get an application receipt. When mailing or making a hand delivery, attach a stamped self-addressed postcard to the front page of the documents. List each document and the number of pages on the card.


United States Patent and Trademark Office, A Guide to Filing a U. S. Patent Application (2008).


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