Utility patents protect a wide range of inventions, including machines, processes, compositions of matter, and improvements to existing inventions. In the United States (U.S.), to obtain a utility patent for an invention, an inventor must file a patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), which includes a detailed written description of the invention and claims that define the scope of the patent protection.
We offer affordable expert patent application services online for new inventions following our 5 steps to patent. Our USPTO registered patent attorney is an online patenting services specialist. Schedule a free patent consultation to get started. Also, check out some of our issued utility patent examples.
Utility Patents Protect How and What Your Invention Does.Carson Patents®
Definition of a Utility Type of Patent for an Invention
A utility patent can be issued for inventions that are “any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof” (35 U.S.C. 101). They can be issued for new products and processes, improvements, or new uses of existing ones. They can also be issued for new methods and new compositions of matter. A utility patent protects the article (product, process, method, or new matter) itself and the way an article is used and works. It protects what the invention is and does.
Unlike the design patent, the utility kind of patent protects what the invention is and the way it functions, not the way it looks. In the United States, these patents are issued for 20 years from the filing date. To clarify, if a patent is issued, the inventor has a legal right to control the making, using, and selling of the invention for 20 years from the date a complete and proper patent application is filed.
Patents are important for inventors as they provide exclusive legal rights to prevent others from making, using, selling, or importing an invention for a limited period of time (20 years). This protection helps inventors to commercialize their ideas, generate revenue, and gain a competitive edge in the market. Also, patents are valuable property assets that can be licensed, sold, or used as collateral for financing. Obtaining a utility patent requires a thorough understanding of the invention and its patentability. Working with a patent attorney or patent agent can help inventors refine their ideas and business strategies.
5 Steps to Patent a New Invention with Utility Patent Protection
Carson Patents recommends our 5 steps to patent seek patent protection for your new invention. Our 5 steps to patent meets all of the requirements for either the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO), or both. The following patent steps are best for all new inventions. Of course, we start with the prior art search to see what is out there now. The prior art is used to study patentability and determine whether there are allowable claims that we can write for the invention. Only if an invention is patentable (meets all patentability requirements), do we proceed to writing and filing a patent application.
You can find out more information about the specific patent application process by checking out our what to expect in the utility patent application process page.
How to Apply for a Utility Patent
- Prior Art Search (utility patent search) – finding out if the invention new
- Patentability Study (evaluation) – finding out if the invention patentable
- Patent Application Writing – writing how to make and use the invention
- Patent Application Filing – submitting a complete and proper patent application for the invention
- Patent Prosecution – responding to the Patent Office and patent examiner seeking to put the patent application in a condition for allowance to get a patent issued for the invention
Carson Patents offers expert patenting services for all types and kinds of inventions. We can help with all types of applications such as patent pending, provisional, and non-provisional. We work with both U.S. and the international Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) patent applications. Also, we can help with continuation, continuation in part, divisional, and substitute applications. The kinds of patents include all categories: electrical, mechanical, software, processes, and methods. Check out our areas of patenting experience.
We also write and file accelerated examination patent applications under the USPTO’s Accelerated Examination Program for patent applications to get notice of allowance or final rejection within 12 months.
4 Tips for Choosing a Patent Attorney for your Invention
- Conducting research to find a patent attorney: Before choosing a patent attorney (or patent agent), it is important to conduct research to identify potential candidates. In the U.S., there is only one authority you should search: the USPTO. The USPTO maintains the list of registered patent practitioners. Legally, working on the patent applications of others requires a separate license issued by the USPTO. In addition to being the source of data on who is a registered (licensed) patent practitioner, the USPTO also offers resources to locate a patent attorney or patent agent.
- Evaluating experience and credentials: Once you have identified potential candidates, it is important to evaluate their credentials and experience. Look for a patent attorney (or patent agent) who has the engineering education and expertise to understand your invention. Experience in your industry or technology area is helpful but not a requirement. After all, if your invention is patentable, it is new and different from anything else anyway, so no one could have experience with it other than the inventor. Experience with patent prosecution is important, and experience with patent litigation or patent licensing can be helpful. Check education and credentials, such as engineering school, as well as any certifications, specializations, or advanced degrees.
- Assessing communication and availability: Effective communication and availability are critical to a successful relationship with a patent attorney. Look for a practitioner who is responsive and accessible, and communicates clearly and effectively. Ask about their availability for meetings, calls, and email correspondence and how they handle urgent or time-sensitive matters. The most important part of selecting a patent practitioner is that you believe they understand your invention.
- Considering the provider’s overall approach and philosophy: Finally, it is important to consider the provider’s overall approach and philosophy. Look for an attorney who shares your values and goals and who can provide strategic guidance and support that aligns with your business objectives. Ask about their approach to patent prosecution, litigation, or licensing and how they can help you achieve your desired outcomes.
5 Benefits of Hiring a Patent Attorney for Utility Patent Applications
- Knowledge and expertise: Patent attorneys (and patent agents) possess specialized knowledge and expertise in the field of patent law, including the intricate requirements and procedures for patent applications. They have undergone rigorous education and training and are licensed to practice law in the field of patents specifically.
- Access to resources: Patent attorneys (and patent agents) have access to a wealth of resources and tools to support your utility patent application including patent databases, search tools, and research materials. They can also leverage their professional networks and relationships with patent practitioners to improve your chances of a successful patent application.
- Strategic guidance: Patent attorneys can provide strategic guidance throughout the patent application process from conducting a patentability search to developing a comprehensive patent application. They can help you identify and address potential issues or weaknesses in your application and provide insights into the patent landscape and potential competitors.
- Increased likelihood of success: Hiring a patent attorney can significantly increase your chances of a successful patent application. They can provide expertise and guidance on the most effective strategies for protecting your invention and can help you navigate the complex requirements and procedures of the patent application process. By leveraging their knowledge, experience, and resources, patent attorneys can help you maximize your chances of obtaining a valuable utility patent.
- Avoidance of costly mistakes: The patent application process can be complex and challenging, and even small mistakes or oversights can lead to costly delays or even rejection of your application. By hiring a patent attorney (or patent agent), you can avoid common mistakes and ensure that your application meets all of the necessary requirements and procedures. This can help you avoid costly delays or rejections and ensure that your intellectual property is protected as effectively as possible.
Patent Application Costs for Inventions with Utility
A utility patent application will cost between $4000 – $6000 to write and file to protect the function of an invention. Additionally, after filing, prosecution costs are usually between $1000 – $3000. Please note that these costs only represent Carson Patents‘ fees and do not include the USPTO or WIPO patent application filing fees which vary by entity status. Every invention is unique, so the exact cost of fees for each invention may vary depending on complexity and the number of claims needed to completely claim the invention.
In conclusion, the cost to patent an invention will vary based on the invention and the number of office action responses that are needed. Click the image to the left to read more about how much it costs to patent an invention in our patent costs article.