A utility patent is available for an invention or discovery of a new and useful machine, manufacture, composition of matter, or process. Also, the utility patents help in improvements for a machine, manufacture, composition, or process that one considers useful.
A “machine” includes anything that one generally considers a machine, such as a computer or a tractor. A “manufacture” refers to goods which are made while a “composition of matter” is a chemical composition. The chemical compositions include new chemical compounds as well as mixtures of ingredients. Finally, “process” means an act, method, or process of doing something, primarily including technical or industrial processes.
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Utility Patents: Process to Obtain
To obtain utility patents,one must file a utility patent application at the U.S. Patent Office. Many inventors will choose to start the process towards obtaining a utility patent by filing a provisional patent application first. Then, the filing of non-provisional application will take place after 12 months. The process to obtain a utility patent is as follows:
1. Search For Patents:
The first step for obtaining utility patents is searching patents. The patent owner needs to search the USPTO’s database to see if there is a patent grant already similar to your invention. If there is already a patent, then USPTO will reject your application. Else you will proceed further to the next step.
2. Applicant – Determine Filing Strategy:
The patent owner needs to decide whether he wants to file a provisional or non-provisional utility application. A provisional application for patent has a pendency lasting 12 months from the date the provisional application is filed. One cannot extend the 12-month pendency period. Therefore, an applicant who files a provisional application must file a corresponding non-provisional application for patent during the 12-month pendency period. This will benefit the patent applicant from the earlier filing of the provisional application.
The provisional application must name all of the inventor(s). In view of the one-year grace period, one can file a provisional application up to 12 months following an inventor’s disclosure of the invention. (Such a pre-filing disclosure, although protected in the United States, may preclude patenting in foreign countries.) A public disclosure more than one year before the provisional application filing date would preclude patenting in the United States.
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3. Consider Examination of the Utility Patent:
After filing the patent application and publishing it after 18 months of filing, the next step involves the examination of the patent application. The examination process starts once the applicant files a request for examination. It is within 48 months from the date of filing of the application or the priority date whichever is earlier. During the first examination stage, the examiner prepares the examination report incorporating all the statutory objections for the given patent application. The examiner performs a patent search in order to identify the prior arts relevant to the invention
4. Prepare for Electronics Filing:
The next step to get utility patents is to prepare for electronics filing. For that, you need to determine the application processing fee. Except for provisional applications, each application for a patent requires the appropriate search fee and examination fee. It is in addition to the appropriate fees in the “Patent Application Filing Fees”. One must also pay the $400/$200 non-electronic filing fee in addition to the filing and examination fees in each original non-provisional utility application.
5. Overcome All Objections:
Once the examination of the application is over, the applicant needs to overcome all the objections by the examination cell. If one does not clear all the objections, the USPTO rejects the patent application. So, it is necessary to overcome all the objections for a patent grant.
6. Utility Patent Grant:
Once the applicant overcomes all the objections, he gets a patent grant.
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