Outlier Patent Attorneys

Utility Patents – U.S. Patent Procurement (Application Drafting & Prosecution)


What is a utility patent?

A utility patent grants an inventor exclusive rights to make, use, or sell an invention. It is a form of intellectual property protection that applies to machines, processes, compositions of matter, and manufactured articles. The utility patent process can take up to three years from the date of filing before it is issued by the USPTO.

When do I need a design patent?

A design patent protects the ornamental aspects of an invention such as its shape or color but does not protect any functional aspects or features. It covers only visual characteristics such as patterns or surface ornamentation that are embodied in or applied to an article of manufacture. Unlike utility patents, design patents can be obtained much faster since they do not require extensive research or testing prior to approval by the USPTO.

What are the types of utility patents?

There are two types of utility and plant patent applications: a provisional and a non-provisional. What's the difference? A provisional application is a lightweight, placeholder application that primarily serves to let inventors establish a US filing date for their invention (which can be claimed in a non-provisional application filed at a later date within 12 months of the provisional's filing date). When you typically hear about a regular patent application, that likely refers to a non-provisional. It’s what you file to get a patent (hopefully) granted through official review from the USPTO.

Generally speaking, there are three different types of patents: utility, design, and plant. And, there are also generally four different types of utility patents: process patents (which cover methods or processes), machine patents (which cover machines), composition patents (which cover chemical compositions) and article-of-manufacture patents (which cover manufactured articles). The type of utility patent you apply for depends on what your invention is used for and how it functions.

How do I get a utility patent?

The first step in obtaining a utility patent is preparing a detailed application for submission to the USPTO. The application must include detailed descriptions of the invention’s purpose and function, drawings of its components or features, and claims that define what elements are covered under the patent. Once it has been filed with the USPTO, they will review it and determine if it meets all legal requirements for issuance.

What are the elements of a "good" design utility application?

As with any type of patent application, there are certain elements that must be included in order for it to be successful. These include detailed descriptions and drawings that accurately describe your invention’s features; claims that clearly identify which parts you believe should be protected; evidence supporting why you believe your invention meets all legal requirements; proof that your invention works; evidence showing why your invention is unique from any existing technology; and evidence demonstrating how your invention would benefit society if granted a patent.

What’s the difference between a utility patent and design patent?

A key difference between utility and design patents is that while both grant exclusive rights over an inventor’s work product, only a utility patent can protect both its functional aspects as well as its ornamental aspects while a design patent can only protect ornamental aspects related to shape or color, but cannot protect any functional aspects or features associated with an invention. Understanding both types of patents (utility vs design) is essential when applying for intellectual property protection in order to ensure maximum coverage over inventions like machines, processes, compositions, etc.

How much does a utility patent cost?

The cost associated with filing a utility patent application varies depending on various factors such as complexity, nature, scope etc. Generally speaking, a utility patent will range anywhere from $3000 and above. At Outlier, we charge on a flat fee basis with the cost set at $5000 for a provisional and $12,000 for a full non-provisional.