Utility Patent

Turn Your Innovations Into Assets

A Utility Patent gives you the exclusive right to use your innovation for 20 years.

U.S. and International patent laws are written to encourage and reward creators of new and useful innovations.

A Utility Patent is often one of the most valuable intangible assets a company or inventor may obtain.

The holder of a Utility Patent can use the patented invention (while preventing others from also using it), but also sell or license the patent rights to others and collect a royalty.

A Caution on Disclosure if You Plan to Take Your Idea Global

If you plan on taking your innovation into the global market, do not disclose your idea to the public before you file for a patent (you can lose your rights).

It Is Difficult to Acquire

A Utility patent is difficult to obtain. The application undergoes a stringent patent examination process before the USPTO.

The Importance of Partnering With a Patent Attorney

Patent law is highly technical and specialized. A licensed patent attorney is oftentimes essential to obtaining enforceable and defensible patent protection.

Frequently Asked Questions

Legally, an inventor is anyone who has contributed to the conception (not the realization) of what is claimed as the invention you wish to protect. So, if an employee conceived of Feature 4, but you only wish to Patent Features 1-3 and 5, the inventor does not need to be listed in the patent application. In general, however, it’s good practice to list everyone that has made a contribution to the conception of the invention.

For more information, see our video on Patent Rights.

Most of us like to feel that we were the first to have conceived of our great idea. Before investing the time and resources into applying for a patent, it is good to know if there are any other patents or publications disclosing something similar to your idea. Ultimately, this information will help you and your Patent Attorney decide if pursuing a patent is a good decision, or if designing around may be needed. Please note – a patent search is not the same as a clearance search.

View our Patent Search options.

When you file a non-provisional application, you have a choice of whether or not you want the application to be made available to the public for review (i.e., published). If the application is published, but you are not granted a patent, the subject matter of your application enters the public domain.

If you choose not to publish the application, and your application is not granted patent, the subject matter of your application does not enter the public domain. However, if you choose not to publish the application you and are granted a patent: 1) you are forbidden from filing international patent protection in most countries; and 2) you will only be able to collect royalties on your patent from the time of patent grant, whereas if you had opted to publish your patent application at the time of filing, you may be able to collect royalties from infringes from the date of your patent filing date.

Patent Resources

Free, AI-powered Patent Search Tool. You can now run your own free, confidential preliminary patent search and generate a custom report of the results. No commitments or limitations! Click here to get started.

Can I Use a Competitor’s Name in Advertising?

In general, it is not illegal to compare yourself to your competitor in the advertising context, so long it is not untruthful, disparaging, misleading, or confusing to the public. Additionally, the use of a competitor’s trademark cannot lead the public to believe that the company is endorsing you. But what do those generic rules look like in practical application?

Adding Subject Matter to International Patents

Applicant will not have to deal with combating their own prior art under § 103 in the United States, international jurisdictions tend to be more stringent in their considerations.  

International Patents: Grace Periods after Public Disclosures

Once a public disclosure is made, the public disclosure bars the filing of a patent application in almost all jurisdictions. However, in the United States, there is a 12 month grace period starting from the public disclosure to file a patent application. A patent filing in the US does not count as prior art if we make a US filing before a public disclosure. Therefore, we have two routes to file applications in other countries.

Can I Get Trademark Protection For A Board Game?

Trademark Protection for Board Games Jump to: Most savvy entrepreneurs know to apply for trademarks on their product names, company names, logos and slogans. Of those, inventors who make board games often go straight to patent filings and forget about the trademark analysis, as explored in my article here: This article considers a sub-category of…

Are Figures or Drawings Required for a Provisional Patent?

Figures or drawings are not always required for a provisional patent. However, if figures or drawings are necessary for a person of ordinary skill in the field of your invention to understand your invention, then they are required for a provisional patent. 

Who Can Be Considered an Inventor on My Patent Application?

In general, it’s good practice to list everyone that has made a contribution to a substantive or significant portion of the invention as an inventor. Legally, an inventor is anyone who has contributed to the conception of what is claimed as the invention you wish to protect.