Filing the Formal Utility Patent
How should a patent application be filed?
- Once the non-provisional patent application has been drafted, it is then filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). It must include a set of patent claims and comply with a number of rigid and comprehensive requirements.
- The application should be filed by Express Mail. Using Express Mail grants an applicant an official filing date corresponding to the date the application was deposited in the mail rather than the date received at the USPTO.
- Alternatively, the application may be filed electronically at a slightly reduced cost.
How will I know if the application was filed properly?
- If filed via Express Mail, you will receive an official filing receipt within about 3 to 4 weeks. If you filed your application electronically, you will receive a filing date and serial number immediately. The official filing receipt will then be mailed to you within about 3 to 4 weeks.
- If there are deficiencies in the filing, you will receive a Notice from the USPTO describing the deficiencies, and you will be provided a short time to cure those deficiencies.
What’s contained in the filing receipt?
- The filing receipt will have your application number and filing date. This date becomes important for other patent-related activities you may engage in, such as seeking foreign patent protection.
- The filing receipt also shows your identifying information, which you should check for accuracy.
- The filing receipt will also indicate whether a foreign filing license was granted. If so, you can file your application in a foreign country or a Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application to seek protection in many countries.
What does it mean to have a patent application filed?
- Once the application is filed, you can describe your invention as “patent pending.”
- You do not have any enforceable rights at this time, only the right to pursue your patent application and preserve your right to protect the invention and your claims as the first inventor on the date the application was filed.