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Research Guides

Patents and Trademarks

Applying for a Patent

When applying for a patent, you will need to determine the type of patent, how you will file (electronically versus mail), and if you will acquire the services of an attorney or file pro se (for yourself).  Before doing any of this, it is suggested that you perform a patent search.  The USPTO suggests the Seven Step Strategy.  Below you will find information on what you will need in order to apply for a patent.

What's needed to submit an application?

EFS Web Flowchart

Image credit: USPTO

Benefits of a Provisional Application for Patent

A provisional patent application allows you to file without a formal patent claim, oath or declaration, or any information disclosure (prior art) statement.  Some other benefits include:

  • Provides means to establish early effective filing date (up to 12 months of additional protection)
  • Allows the term "Patent Pending" to be applied
  • Less costly, at first

Note that a Provisional Application for Patent does not get examined and will not grant you a patent; it buys you time and you must file for a non-provisional utility patent within 12 months or risk abandoning your patent application.

Help with Online Filing

Electronic Business Center (EBC)


5am-11pm CST

Phone: 1-866-217-9197