What is the Most Common Type of Patent?

Utility patents are by far the most common type of patent issued in the United States. To date, the USPTO has granted more than 11 million utility patents, also known as “invention patents”. These patents cover new and useful processes, machines, manufactures, compositions of matter or improvements. Examples of inventions protected by utility patents include computer programs, investment strategies, medical equipment, tools, chemical compositions, genetically modified forms of life and improvements.

In addition to utility patents, there are two other types of patents: design patents and plant patents. Design patents protect the design or image of a product, while plant patents are awarded to applicants for plants that can reproduce. Inventors can also file a provisional patent application to give themselves an additional year to decide whether and how to file a utility patent. This is just one example of how an inventor can use multiple patent applications to mitigate risk, hedge a bet, or expand patent protection.

The USPTO releases utility patent applications a few months after they are filed. At that time, its application is a technique prior to all future inventions. Be sure to file patents strategically to avoid stumbling upon your own inventions. Utility patents are among the world's most valuable assets.

Unlike other forms of intellectual property protection, they have numerous formal requirements and can be very expensive to obtain. For new inventors, obtaining a useful patent can be overwhelming. However, if you go step by step, you can also receive a patent issued for your invention. Did you know that you can file a provisional patent application to get more time to complete the patent process? Learn more about interim patents, which are used to “reserve” a spot in line for your patent application.

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