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application for a patent
A non-provisional application for a patent is made to the Assistant Commissioner for Patents and includes:
(2) A drawing in those cases in which a drawing is necessary; and
(3) The filing fee. Payment of small entity fees must be supported by a small entity statement. See Forms PTO/SB/09-12. See the fee schedule. Fees change each October.
All application papers must be in the English language or a translation into the English language will be required along with the required fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(k). All application papers must be legibly written on only one side either by a typewriter or mechanical printer in permanent dark ink or its equivalent in portrait orientation on flexible, strong, smooth, non-shiny, durable and white paper.
The papers must be presented in a form having sufficient clarity and contrast between the paper and the writing to permit electronic reproduction. The application papers must all be the same size -- either 21.0 cm by 29.7 cm (DIN size A4) or 21.6 cm by 27.9 cm (8 1/2 by 11 inches), with a top margins of at least 2.0 cm (3/4 inch), a left side margin of at least 2.5 cm (1 inch), a right side margin of at least 2.0 cm (3/4 inch) and a bottom margin of at least 2.0 cm (3/4 inch) with no holes made in the submitted papers. It is also required that the spacing on all papers be 1 1/2 or double spaced and the application papers must be numbered consecutively (centrally located above or below the text) starting with page one.
The application for patent is not forwarded for examination until all required parts, complying with the rules related thereto, are received. If any application is filed without all the required parts for obtaining a filing date (incomplete or defective), the applicant will be notified of the deficiencies and given a time period to complete the application filing (a surcharge may be required)at which time a filing date as of the date of such a completed submission will be obtained by the applicant. If the omission is not corrected within a set, specified time period, the application will be returned or otherwise disposed of; the filing fee if submitted will be refunded less a handling fee as set forth in the fee schedule.
It is desirable that all parts of the complete application be deposited in the U.S. Patent Office together; otherwise each part must be signed and a letter must accompany each part, accurately and clearly connecting it with the other parts of the application.
All applications received in the PTO are numbered in serial order and the applicant will be informed of the application serial number and filing date by a filing receipt.
The filing date of an application for patent is the date on which a specification (including at least one claim) and any drawings necessary to understand the subject matter sought to be patented are received in the PTO; or the date on which the last part completing the application is received in the case of a previously incomplete or defective application.
Since June 8, 1995, the PTO has offered inventors the option of filing a provisional application for patent which was designed to provide a lower cost first patent filing in the United States and to give U.S. applicants parity with foreign applicants. Claims and oath or declaration are NOT required for a provisional application. Provisional application provides the means to establish an early effective filing date in a patent application and permits the term Patent Pending to be applied in connection with the invention. Provisional applications may not be filed for design inventions.
The filing date of a provisional application is the date on which a written description of the invention, drawings if necessary, and the name of the inventor(s) are received in the PTO. To be complete, a provisional application must also include the filing fee, and a cover sheet specifying that the application is a provisional application for patent. Applicant would then have up to twelve months to file a non-provisional application for patent as described above. The claimed subject matter in the later filed non-provisional application is entitled to the benefit of the filing date of the provisional application if it has support in the provisional application.
Provisional applications are not examined on their merits. A provisional application will become abandoned by the operation of law twelve months from its filing date. The twelve month pendency for a provisional application is not counted toward the 20 year term of a patent granted on a subsequently filed non-provisional application which relies on the filing date of the provisional application.
A surcharge is required for filing the basic filing fee or the cover sheet on a date later than the filing of the provisional application.
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