How do I apply for a patent?


Inventors may apply for one of two types of patent applications: (1) A non-provisional application, which begins the examination process and may lead to a patent and (2) A provisional application, which establishes a filing date but does not begin the examination process.  Both types of patent applications can be filed either electronically by using the Electronic Filing System (EFS) http://www.uspto.gov/ebc/efs/index.html (for provisional applications, effective January 1, 2002) or in writing to the Commissioner for Patents. You can also request that the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) send informational materials providing a broad overview of the process of obtaining a United States patent, including general requirements and a listing of the depository libraries. For a listing of the information available, visit the USPTO Web site at http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/ac/ido/oeip/catalog/products/pp-a2n-1.htm.


USPTO FAQ - Questions and Answers (14AUG2003)