Utility Patent Basics

A utility patent is a form of intellectual property protection that grants exclusive rights to inventors for new and useful processes, machines, articles of manufacture, or compositions of matter. This type of patent is important as it safeguards the functional aspects of an invention, allowing inventors to capitalize on their creations and prevent others from using, making, or selling the same invention without permission. Approximately 90% of patents issued in recent years are utility patents.

When you secure a utility patent, you gain the exclusive right to use, sell, or license your invention for a specified period. The duration of a utility patent is typically 20 years from the date of filing, providing inventors with a significant window of opportunity to commercialize their innovations and reap the rewards of their hard work. During this period, inventors have the advantage of enjoying a competitive edge in the marketplace, as their competitors are prohibited from making, using, or selling the patented invention without their consent.

Provisional Patent Applications

A provisional patent application (PPA) is an initial filing that provides inventors with a simplified and cost-effective way to establish an early filing date for their invention. While it does not grant patent rights on its own, a PPA serves as a placeholder and allows inventors to use the term “patent pending” for one year. This period can be crucial for inventors to further develop their invention, secure potential investors or partners, or assess the market viability before committing to the full patent application process.

The main advantage of filing a provisional patent application is that it offers inventors temporary protection while they continue to refine and finalize their invention. It allows them to secure an early priority date, which can be essential in determining patent rights in case of similar inventions filed by others. Additionally, a PPA provides inventors with the opportunity to test the market, assess commercial interest, and gauge the potential value of their invention before investing significant resources in a non-provisional patent application (NPA).

It’s important to note that a provisional patent application does not undergo examination by a patent office. However, by establishing a filing date, it is able to preserve the inventor’s rights in case someone else files a similar invention after the provisional application date. Within one year of filing a PPA, inventors must file a corresponding NPA to claim the benefit of the earlier filing date.

Non-Provisional Patent Application

A non-provisional patent application is the formal application submitted to a patent office to seek full patent protection for an invention. Unlike a PPA, an NPA goes through a rigorous examination process by a patent examiner.

When filing a non-provisional patent application, inventors must provide a thorough and precise description of their invention, highlighting its unique features and functionality. The claims section of the NPA is particularly important, as it defines the boundaries of the invention and sets the scope of protection. Well-drafted claims ensure that the patent covers not only the specific embodiment of the invention, but also potential variations and future improvements. Working with a Bold Patents attorney who has expertise in patent law and drafting applications can greatly enhance the chances of obtaining a strong and enforceable patent.

Once an NPA is submitted, the examiner reviewing the application may issue various office actions, which may include rejections, objections, or requests for amendments. Inventors, with the assistance of their patent attorney, have the opportunity to respond to these office actions and make necessary amendments to address the examiner’s concerns. This back-and-forth dialogue with the examiner continues until the application is either approved and granted a patent or rejected.

Comparison of the Provisional v. Non-Provisional Patent Application

One of the main advantages of filing a provisional patent application is its simplicity and cost-effectiveness. It allows inventors to establish an early filing date and secure a temporary patent pending status, which can be valuable. Filing a PPA provides inventors with an additional year to refine their invention, conduct market research, and assess its commercial viability before committing to the more rigorous and expensive non-provisional application process.

On the other hand, a non-provisional patent application offers the substantial benefit of undergoing examination by a patent office. Successfully obtaining a granted patent through an NPA provides inventors with exclusive rights to their invention for a period of 20 years from the filing date. Additionally, NPAs provide a more detailed and comprehensive disclosure of the invention, which strengthens the scope and enforceability of the resulting patent.

The Whys, Pros, and Cons of Utility Patents





The provisional patent application preserves your filing date. If there’s a dispute over who owns the patent, it’s often decided in favor of the earlier filer. Provisional patent applications hold the early date as you flesh out your idea.

Base fee

  • Standard: $300
  • Small entity: $150
  • Micro entity: $75
  • It will preserve the original filing date
  • It’s simpler to file as there are fewer formal requirements for submittal
  • It provides time to refine and test the invention
  • It must be followed up by a nonprovisional application to get an actual patent
  • There is a time limit (1 year)
  • It will delay the time that you must wait before you get your patent granted.


The nonprovisional patent application is the one that gets you patent protection. It must be filed within one year of the provisional one to preserve the date.

Base fee

  • Standard: $320
  • Small entity: $160
  • Micro entity: $80
  • This is the only path to patent approval
  • You can monetize a nonprovisional patent application
  • It gets reviewed, so you can resolve issues
  • It’s expensive and time-consuming
  • A detailed application is required
  • It can take months or years to obtain a patent

It’s important to note that provisional patent applications do not mature into granted patents on their own. To secure full patent protection, inventors must file a corresponding non-provisional application within one year of the provisional filing date. This can be seen as a potential drawback of the provisional approach, as it requires additional steps and expenses. However, the benefits of the provisional application, such as the extended development period and early priority date, often outweigh the associated costs and complexity. A patent attorney Bold Patents can provide valuable guidance in making the best choice for protecting an invention.

Choosing a Bold Patents Attorney

Navigating the patent application process, whether it involves provisional or non-provisional applications, requires a deep understanding of patent law, technical knowledge, and the ability to draft strong and enforceable patent applications. By hiring a Bold Patents attorney, you can tap into a wealth of experience and ensure that your utility patent application is meticulously prepared, increasing the chances of successfully obtaining exclusive rights to your invention.

Don’t leave the fate of your invention to chance – let our dedicated patent attorneys provide the professional assistance you need to safeguard your innovative creations and thrive in a competitive marketplace.

Choosing the Best Utility Patent Attorney

As you can see from the above, filing a patent is not a “once and done” thing. If you’ve created a complex invention, you may need multiple patents to protect it. That’s why you should work with a utility patent attorney. At Bold Patents, we’ve guided hundreds of inventors through both nonprovisional and provisional utility patents so they could successfully protect their intellectual property.

In the long run, hiring a utility patent attorney will save you a lot of trouble—and money. Our detailed opinions will help you understand the steps you have to take, as well as the risks, as you bring your invention to market.

Without that painstakingly crafted language, you might risk your money, your time, and even your chances at a utility patent altogether. Don’t make the journey alone—bring a utility patent lawyer with you.

Bold Patents offers the best utility patent lawyers and utility patent services for new inventors due to our collaborative process. To schedule a free Discovery Call, connect with us through our contact form today.