What Is a Patent Application?

Inventors submit patent applications in order to obtain patent protection for their intellectual property. This means that, if the application is approved and the patent is registered, the inventor will hold rights to the invention and anyone hoping to sell, use, or make the invention will need to obtain licensure from the inventor.

Patent applications are created to cover specific inventions, and they are meant to be very detailed in nature. The application should make it possible for a person in the same field of study as the invention to use or make it themselves. A patent application includes the following:

  • Illustrations for production and use of the invention.
  • Detailed descriptions of all aspects of the invention.
  • Detailed instructions on how to build or use the invention properly.
  • A signed oath by the inventor or inventors that says that the patent application meets the basic requirements of patent law.
  • Patent claims that outline the scope of patent coverage for the invention.

Basically, patented inventions are not kept secret, but they are protected from being used or manufactured without the owner's consent. Patent applications are a huge part of various research fields. Much can be learned from these documents. They aren't written for just anyone to understand, but a person with skills in the same field should follow the details.

The Purpose of a Patent

The details included in the description of the invention depend on what is necessary to know for someone trying to use or make it. If specific measurements or tolerances aren't necessary information, then don't include them. You want a patent application to be clear, precise, and easy to follow. If it gets bogged down with irrelevant information, the application loses its purpose.

Patents are legally written for a person with ordinary skills in the relevant field and reviewed by judges who don't have backgrounds in the relevant fields or by juries of lay people without technical knowledge. So, patent attorneys have the task of using language that is understandable enough to the legal reviewers but also useful to the researchers in a certain field.

When filing a patent application, the inventor must submit the application, patent fee, and oath to the USPTO. Once the application is filed, it cannot be changed or added to. This means that it is very important to make sure that all of the necessary information is included in the first application.

If you need to submit a patent application, it is best to hire a patent attorney to help with the process. There are different ways to file for patents depending on the type of ownership an inventor is looking for. If you want ownership internationally, you'll need to go through a different process than for a patent that only applies in the U.S. This is where an experienced patent attorney comes in handy.

What Is an Ordinary Application?

An ordinary patent application, or ordinary patent, refers to the basic type of application filed with the USPTO. If you're looking to protect a single invention and keep that protection confined to the U.S., then an ordinary patent will likely cover your needs. Priority applications and international applications are also available, among many other patent types, to cover the specific needs of various inventors.

Ordinary patents typically go through two stages of the application process, but some only require one stage. First, there is the provisional application and then the completed application. Once the completed application is processed and approved, you legally own a patent.

If an inventor is hoping to secure an early date of filing for their patent, they can file a provisional application. This type of application acts as a sort of place holder for the patent until the full application is approved and the patent granted. Sometimes, an invention isn't complete at the time that the inventor wants to protect it, so they file a provisional application in the meantime.

If you need help with an ordinary patent, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.