Utility Patent

Protect your invention

A utility patent gives an inventor the exclusive right to prevent others from making, using, selling or importing their protected invention.

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Step One pricing starts at $699
Step Two pricing starts at $2700+filing fees

With our two-step utility patent service, you get:

A consultation with a USPTO-registered patent attorney or agent.

Technical drawings of your invention by a professional illustrator.

Preparation and filing of your completed utility patent application with the USPTO.

What is a utility patent?

When inventors talk about patents, they're usually referring to utility patents. This is because utility patents cover the most common categories of invention: they're granted for inventions that produce a new and useful result (as opposed to design patents, which protect purely ornamental designs on useful objects).

For your invention to qualify for utility patent protection, it must fall into one of the following categories of subject matter:

  • Machines, which are generally composed of moving parts (such as a clock or an engine);
  • Articles of manufacture, which are generally useful items with few or no moving parts (such as a screwdriver or bolt);
  • Processes, which are stepwise methods (including software and methods of doing business); and,
  • Compositions of matter, which include compounds and mixtures (such as man-made proteins and pharmaceuticals).

When should I file my utility patent application?

It's important to file your application as soon as possible after your invention is complete, because the first person to file a patent application will almost always be considered the inventor.

Timely filing of a patent application has other benefits as well. Once the application is filed, you're free to label your invention "patent pending," which will put potential infringers on notice. If a patent is granted, the inventor may seek royalty payments from any person who made or used the invention during that "pending" period, including any provisional period.

Copyright, trademark and patent: what's the difference?

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File your patent with our simple, two-step process

Step One

Preliminary Assessment and Drawings


You receive:

Attorney consultation

A USPTO-registered patent attorney or agent will provide a patent consultation by phone.

Technical illustrations

Based on your description and sketches, a technical illustrator will create up to 4 pages of professional drawings.

Optional patent search

For an additional $499, we can conduct a comprehensive search for published patents and applications in your field of invention, and your patent attorney or agent will advise you on the results.

Step Two

Utility Patent Application Filing


+ filing fees

You receive:

Follow-up consultation

A USPTO-registered patent attorney or agent will discuss your application with you by phone.

Preparation of application

Your patent attorney or agent will prepare up to two drafts of your utility patent application.

Electronic filing

Your patent attorney or agent will electronically file your completed application with the USPTO.

* Applications for chemical compositions and biological/biotechnological, electrical device or system, or computer software inventions require an additional fee of $1000.

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Common questions

How do I apply?

It's important that you plan ahead when completing your nonprovisional utility patent application. Allow at least 8 weeks to complete the patent process. For your convenience, we've broken the application process into two steps:

Step 1

You submit an easy questionnaire with some information about your invention. Then, a USPTO-registered patent professional will provide a patent consultation by phone, and a professional illustrator will create technical drawings to support your application. This process takes approximately four weeks.

Optionally, we can also conduct a patent search and review for other, potentially similar inventions, which will add an additional week to the process.

Step 2

Once the first step is complete, we'll send you a link so you can begin Step Two. We'll connect you with a patent attorney or USPTO-registered patent agent who'll work with you to complete your nonprovisional utility patent application and file it with the USPTO.

Because patent applications can be complicated, the law firm handling your order requires at least 4 weeks to complete it. If you have a short deadline and need to expedite the processing of your order, the law firm preparing your application may be able to accommodate your request for an additional fee. For more information, please call us at (888) 791-0227 or email us at ipsales@legalzoom.com.

Are there guidelines for completing utility patent applications?

The USPTO offers guidelines to help inventors describe their invention in the patent application. The application should include:

  1. A title of no more than 500 characters;
  2. Clear instructions on how to make and use the invention (the "enablement" requirement);
  3. A summary of the invention;
  4. Drawings, if necessary, and an explanation of any enclosed drawings;
  5. Claims about the patentability of the invention.

The description in the application should be detailed enough that a person in the same field could make use of the invention without any additional information. If the invention relies on any rare material for its creation or use, the applicant must submit a sample of that material as well.

What's the difference between a provisional and a nonprovisional patent application?

A "Provisional Application for Patent" is a way to establish and protect a "date of invention" (or "priority filing date") for one year. It was created to provide inventors with an inexpensive way to begin protecting their inventions. Once you've filed, you have 12 months to submit your full nonprovisional utility patent application, during which time you can label your invention "patent pending."

Learn more about the difference between a provisional application for patent and the nonprovisional utility patent, and the protections offered by each. https://www.legalzoom.com/articles/patent-pending-knowing-when-its-time-to-file-a-provisional-patent

I already filed my provisional application for patent. Now I'd like to apply for my utility patent. What do I need to do?

If you've filed for the protection of a provisional patent, you must complete and file a corresponding nonprovisional utility patent application with the USPTO within 12 months.

If you don't complete a nonprovisional utility patent application within 12 months, your provisional application will expire and you'll lose your priority filing date. This doesn't stop you from being able to file another provisional application or a nonprovisional application for your invention, but it does mean your initial provisional filing date is lost.

When you file your nonprovisional utility patent application, both that and your original provisional application will be reviewed by the USPTO. The nonprovisional application will be carefully examined to determine whether a patent will be granted, and the provisional application will be examined to determine whether the invention it describes bears enough similarity to the one in your nonprovisional application.

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