Intellectual Property Law

Patents Overview

The Patent Application Process

The USPTO provides a flow chart for the patent application process at However, we shall summarize it here:

1.  Is your invention original?

2.  What type of patent are you filing (see three types above)?

3.  Do you need international protection?

4.  Provisional or nonprovisional?

5.  File online

6.  Application reviewed

7.  If granted, renewal fees for the next 12 years

Provisional or nonprovisional patents?

1.  Provisional patents, filed under 35 U.S.C. § 111 (b), are an expedited, less expensive, temporary patent, that allows for the patentee to have an earlier patent date, although provisional patents must be followed within 1 year by a non-Provisional patent

2.  A non-provisional patent, filed under 35 U.S.C. § 111 (a), requires many different parts: Application form, fees, Specification, and an Inventor’s Oath or Declaration.

The USPTO will generally only grant a patent if the subject matter is deemed to be "useful."

There are five primary requirements for patentability:

1.  Patentable subject matter

2.  Utility

3.  Novelty

4.  Non-obviousness

5.  Enablement

As stated in the USPTO guidelines, the patent does not grant you the “right to make, use, offer for sale, sell or import,” your invention, it just excludes everyone else from “making, using, offering for sale, selling or importing the invention.”  The patentee (the one that receives the patent) must bear responsibility for following the appropriate procedures for producing and marketing their invention, but also for enforcing the patent. In other words, the USPTO is not on the outlook for people copying inventions, that job belongs to the patentee himself, or the patentee’s lawyer.

It is highly recommended that you use an attorney when filing for a patent. * Our attorneys do not handle patent prosecution (the application process) as we focus on patent litigation, licensing and assignment of rights, and patent defense. We can refer you to a highly qualified attorney who handles patent prosecution.


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