How to Patent a Process


Patents are forms of intellectual property that can be extremely valuable to the individuals or businesses that hold them. There are many types of patents available to inventors; the patent to file for a process is called a Non-Provisional or Utility patent. There are many reasons to patent a process, including, but not limited to, the exclusive right to sell the information to interested clients.

Visit the United States Patent and Trademark Office's website (see Resources) to print the necessary forms listed in the following steps. You can also submit your application online using the USPTO's EFS-Web (see Resources).

Fill out the Utility Patent Application Transmittal Form or Transmittal Letter. This form contains a description of everything contained in the application including the accompanying forms, inventor information, the name of the invention and the names of any accompanying enclosures.

Fill out the Fee Transmittal Form. This form is used to calculate the appropriate fees for the application and it shows how the payment was made. Fee amounts are based on several variables. If filing fees are not paid at the time of application, a notice will be sent to the inventor and a surcharge will be assessed. Fees are subject to change.

Fill out the Application Data Sheet. This form is submitted voluntarily by the inventor and contains basic information about the inventor. It can also be used to change information that was previously submitted.

Write a Specification for your patent claim. This is a description of the process written in such a way that those who are familiar with the art or science of the invention will be able to replicate the process without difficulty. Specification documents must be formatted to USPTO standards, or they will not be accepted. The Specification includes the title of the invention, cross-references to any related applications, reference to any material submitted separately on compact disc, background of the invention, a brief summary of the invention, descriptions of any drawings being submitted, a detailed description of the invention, a claim or claims that define the extent of patent protection being sought and an abstract of the disclosure. Any drawings being submitted will be attached to the Specification.

Fill out the appropriate Oath or Declaration form, which declares the applicant to be the original inventor of the material described in the Specification.

Assemble the completed forms and documents in the correct order and attach a self-addressed stamped postcard to the first page before mailing. This postcard should list the enclosed documents and number of pages for each. The postcard will be stamped by the USTPO and returned to you as proof of receipt of your application.

Tips & Warnings

  • Patents and the process of patenting an idea can be a long and difficult process. You can do it on your own, but it is highly recommended that you enlist the services of a patent attorney to walk you through the process.
  • Once the patent process is started, a set of deadlines for subsequent filings is put into place. These deadlines must be met in order for a patent to be issued.

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