Patent Application

Patent Application

A patent application is a formal request to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for the grant of a patent for the specific invention described and claimed in the application.


Overview

Main Article: Patent

Main Article: Intellectual Property

A patent application is a formal request to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for the grant of a patent for the specific invention described and claimed in the application. The term "patent application" is used to refer to both the process of applying for a patent and to the patent specifications itself (i.e. the specific invention described).

A person, either legal (i.e. a business) or natural, must file an application at the patent office with the jurisdiction to grant a patent in the geographic area in which the applicant would like coverage. For example, the United States has a national patent office (USPTO), however the European Patent Office is a regional body. The patent office will grant the patent office once they have confirmed that the patent specification complies with the laws of the jurisdiction.

Patent prosecution refers to the process of negotiating with a patent office for the grant of a patent.

Patent litigation refers to the legal proceedings for infringement of a patent, after it has already been granted by the patent office.


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Patent Application (Medium)

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File a utility patent on a medium complexity invention, such as an electromechanical invention. This allows you to stop others from using your invention, and allows for monetization of your intellectual property.

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Vic Lin and 4 others

Patent Application (Simple)

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File a utility patent on a simple invention, such as a post-it note or a screwdriver. This allows you to stop others from using your invention, and allows for monetization of your intellectual property.


Application process timeline



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Patent Application (Complex)

VIEW

File a utility patent on a high complexity invention, such as a medical device. This allows you to stop others from using your invention, and allows for monetization of your intellectual property.

Patent Application (Medium)

VIEW

File a utility patent on a medium complexity invention, such as an electromechanical invention. This allows you to stop others from using your invention, and allows for monetization of your intellectual property.


Types of patent applications

Individual patent offices use different names for the various types of patent applications, but the general types are listed below. These general types apply to the different categories of patents (i.e. utility patents, plant patents, and design patents).

Standard application

A standard patent application contains all the necessary requirements (i.e. a written description of the invention and claims). A standard patent application may or may not result in the grant of a final patent. This depends on the outcome of an examination by a trained patent official at the patent office.

In the United States, a standard patent application is referred to as a "non-provisional" application.

Provisional application

A provisional patent application allows the applicant to place an application on file to obtain a filing date. This allows the applicant to place the words "patent pending" on their invention, which can deter competitors and incentivize potential investors. Another benefit of a provisional patent is that it offsets the expense and complexity of a standard patent application.

No enforceable intellectual property rights can be obtained through the filing of a provisional application alone.

In the United States, a provisional application may be incorporated into a standard patent application within one year. Otherwise, the provisional application will expire after one year.

Continuation application

A continuation application can be filed as a continuation of a previous patent application. It is a convenient method for investors to pursue additional claims to an invention that were disclosed in an earlier application that has not been issued or abandoned.

Divisional application

A divisional application is one that has been divided from a pre-existing patent application. This application can only contain subject matter from the application from which it was divided (the parent patent application). Additionally, the divisional application will retain the filing and priority date of the parent application. Divisional applications are typically used in situations where the original patent application described more than one invention (i.e. it lacks unity of invention), and the applicant is required to split each of the inventions into divisional applications that each claim a single, unique invention.


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Design Patent

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File a design patent application. Applying for a design patent helps protect the ornamental design of a functional item.

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Vic Lin and 4 others

Reasons to not apply for a patent

  • $$$ - The cost of obtaining a patent can range from $5,000 to $15,000+ depending on how complex your invention is. If your invention will not make you more money than it costs to file the patent, it is not advisable to file the patent. While testing out an idea, you can file a provisional patent. The provision patent is less costly and gives you a full year to determine whether or not filing the full patent application is the right step.
  • Patent denial - The patent application requires full disclosure about the invention. Should the patent not be granted, the application is still made public. This could be potentially problematic if your patent discloses any trade secrets that other companies can capitalize upon.
  • Expiration of rights - Patents expire after 20 years. Once they expire, the information contained in the patent is no longer protected.