Introduction to U.S. Patent Application

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is a government agency responsible for examining patent applications and granting patents. A patent is a type of intellectual property that gives the patent holder the right to prohibit others from making, using, promoting, selling, or importing into the United States the inventions protected by the patent for a period of time. Once the USPTO approves a patent, it is up to the patent holder to enforce their rights.

The main purpose of this article is to provide basic information to help you apply for a utility patent. The application of a patent requires complex legal documents, which are best prepared by a person who has professional training in this field. You can consult a registered patent attorney or agent. If you need more information, you can:

  • Call the USPTO hotline at 1-800-786-9199 or 1-571-272-1000;
  • Go to the USPTO website at; or
  • Consult the Patent and Trademark Resource Center (PTRC) near you

There are three types of U.S. patents: utility patents, design patents, and plant patents. There are two types of applications for utility patents and plant patents, provisional applications and non-provisional applications. Provisional applications allow inventors to establish a U.S. filing date for their inventions in a quick and inexpensive way. When the inventor files a non-provisional application in the future, he can cite this filing date in the United States. It should be noted that the inventor must submit the corresponding non-provisional application within 12 months after submitting the provisional application to be able to use this filing date in the United States. Otherwise, the provisional application submitted before will be automatically invalidated after 12 months. A patent examiner examines the inventor’s non-provisional application, and if all conditions are met, a patent certificate is issued. Each year, the USPTO receives approximately 500,000 patent applications, the vast majority of which are non-provisional applications for utility patents.

Lei Jiang Law Firm has a professional team of patent attorneys to provide high-quality patent search and application services. If you need more information, please contact us.

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