Utility / Non-Provisional Application for a Patent

A utility patent (also referred to as a nonprovisional) application for a patent is made to the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and includes:

(1) A written document as a specification (description and claims)

The specification must conclude with a claim or claims particularly pointing out and distinctly claiming the ‘novel’ subject matter that the applicant regards as the invention. The portion of the utility patent application in which the applicant sets forth the claim or claims is an important part of the utility patent application, as it is the claims that define the scope of the protection afforded by the utility patent. More than one claim may be presented provided they differ from each other. Claims may be presented in independent form (e.g. the claim stands by itself) or in dependent form, referring back to and further limiting another claim or claims in the same application.

(2) Drawings (when necessary);

(3) An oath or declaration; and

(4) Filing, search, and examination fees. The fee schedule can be found at http://www.uspto.gov/

A utility patent protects the function of an invention, that is to say how it works and how it is used and is normally pursued in those instances where it is desired to protect how the invention operates/functions. A utility patent can be issued to any person who invents a new, useful, and non-obvious (1) process, (2) machine, (3) manufactured article, (4) composition of matter, or (5) any new and useful improvement to any of these types of inventions.

All utility patent applications received in the USPTO are numbered in sequential order, and the applicant will be informed of the application number and filing date by a filing receipt.

The filing date of a utility patent application for patent is the date on which a specification (including at least one claim) and any drawings necessary to understand the subject matter sought to be patented are received in the USPTO; or the date on which the last part completing the utility patent application is received in the case of a previously incomplete or defective application. The U.S. is a first to file country.