How Do I File a Patent?

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The most common types of patents are design and utility. There are also plant patents.

For utility patents, there is a provisional patent application and a non-provisional patent application.

If you are not using a patent attorney/agent to file your patent, here are the patent office rules you must follow.

These are basic steps:

STEPS TO FILE A DESIGN PATENT APPLICATION

A design patent protects the way something looks, not the way it functions.

1. Drawings

Drawings are probably the most important part of your patent.

It can be best to have a professional draftsperson knowledgeable in patent drawings prepare these. The patent office requires that your drawings satisfy various requirements, such as lines, shading and views of your product.

Generally, your drawings should show a perspective view of your product, as well as top, bottom, and all sides of your product.

It is possible to use photographs instead of drawings, if photographs are the only practical way to illustrate your product.

2. Specification

Your specification needs to include the title of your invention, a description of the different views of your drawings, and a single claim.

Your claim should state: "The ornamental design for [insert title of invention] as shown and described."

3. Oath or declaration

This is a signed statement confirming that you are the inventor of the filed application.

4. Application Data Sheet

This is a patent office form that identifies matters such as title of invention, inventors, correspondence address, and entity status for purposes of calculating your filing fee.

5. Filing your application

Your application can be filed electronically through the patent office website.

STEPS TO FILE A UTILITY PATENT APPLICATION

A utility patent protects the way a product functions, not the way it looks.

1. Drawings

These should include various views to show all the important or patentable aspects of your invention.

Like for design patents, it can be best to have a professional draftsperson knowledgeable in patent drawings prepare these.

2. Specification

This can include various sections, such as "Background", "Summary of the Invention", "Brief Description of the Drawings", "Detailed Description of the Invention", "Claims", and "Abstract".

The detailed description should provide enough information to enable another to make and use your invention. You cannot hide important aspects of your invention.

The claims section sets for the "metes and bounds" of your patent coverage. The claims can describe your invention in a way that is broader than the product you actually sell.

3. Oath or declaration

This is not needed for a provisional application.

For a non-provisional application, it is the same as for a design patent.

4. Application data sheet

This is the same as for a design patent.

5. Filing your application

This is the same as for a design patent.

WARNING:

It is common for the patent office to reject your patent application, particularly a utility application, one or more times. There can be many reasons for the rejection.

It is uncommon for the patent to issue a utility application without a rejection.

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