Utility Patent Applications

A patent for an invention is the grant of a property right to the inventor, issued by the United States Patent and Trademark Office. The patent grant excludes others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention in the United States. The patent grant further excludes others from importing the invention into the United States.

Utility patents may be granted to anyone who invents or discovers any new and useful process, machine, article of manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.

A nonprovisional utility patent application must include a specification, including a claim or claims; drawings, when necessary; an oath or declaration; and the prescribed filing, search, and examination fees.

Once a patent is issued, the patentee must enforce the patent without aid of the Patent Office. The right conferred by the patent grant extends throughout the United States. The terms “Patent Pending” and “Patent Applied For” are used to inform the public that an application for a patent has been filed. Patent protection does not start until the actual grant of a patent.

Generally, the term of a new utility patent is 20 years from the date on which the application for the patent was filed in the United States or, in special cases, from the date an earlier related application was filed, subject to the payment of maintenance fees.