Requirements For Utility Patents

Utility patents are the most recognized type of patent. There protection applies to how
something is made and operates from the result of human activity. It can also be from making an improvement on an old invention that produces a utilitarian result. Patent laws allow you to sue anyone who infringes on your invention without your permission.

Submission Process

To begin, your utility patent application must be written in English or include an English
translation. All of the papers used in the application process must be typewritten and completed in black ink. Writing should be done on one side of the paper. The paper should be printed in portrait layout on durable, non-shiny, paper that is either 8.5” x 11” or DIN size A4.

All utility patents are required to contain certain information about the new invention,
including the specification, claims, drawings, an oath or declaration, and the prescribed fees for the filing search and examination. For every application that is put submitted, a transmittal letter should be filed. This tells the USPTO you are filing a patent and exactly what papers being submitted with the application.

Costs And Maintenance Fees

utility-patentsFor the first 12 years, utility patents are subject to periodic maintenance fees following the issue date. You should include payment by check or credit card with a fee transmittal form. The fee has three components: filing fee, search fee, and examination fee. To keep your patent up to date, you must stay current with these fees.

The costs are determined by the number of claims, the length of the application, and whether or not the applicant has small entity status. There are services that will remind you of upcoming fees and even pay them if you choose. Keep in mind that these fees are separate from any other fees that might be incurred during the patent process.


Lifespan Of A Utility Patent

The term for utility patents is determined by the filing date of the application. If filed
before June 8, 1995, it will be effective for 17 years. However, if filed after this date, it is good for 20 years. A patent can have an early expiration if its declared invalid, recalled by the PTO, or cancelled for failure to pay. You may get an extension if outside interference prolonged the application process.

Are There Any Disadvantages

When utility patents are granted, the scope of the protection can be the strongest and broadest available. To get this, you must have patience, overcome prior art, and endure this difficult undertaking. Once a patent is issued, the costs can be overbearing to enforce and maintain.

From the examiner to the courtroom, you could be constantly defending the validity of the
subject matter. This can turn out to be a major disadvantage during the term of your patent.

Getting utility patents are labor intensive and time consuming. Many inventors don’t know
how to apply for a patent, but they have overcome this and succeeded at doing this on their own. If you have the money for costs, but not the time or skills, it is recommended to hire a patent attorney or agent.