Non-Provisional Patent Applications

Claim your idea or invention when you file a non-provisional patent application. Let our team help you through this process so you can save time and money.

Protect Your Inventions with Non-Provisional Patent Applications

Let The Patent Professor® help you protect your invention with non-provisional patent application by calling (877) 330-7492.

Filing a non-provisional patent for your invention prevents other people from stealing and potentially profiting from your unique intellectual property. If they try to replicate your device or technology, you have legal recourse. Patent attorneys like The Patent Professor® can help you sue someone if they have violated your patent.

On the other hand, a provisional patent can protect your idea for a year as you work to bring your invention to the market. Once you file a provisional patent, your idea gains patent pending status. You have a year to file a non-provisional patent application with the United States patent and trademark office.

Let's look at what it takes to apply for a non-provisional patent to protect your invention.

What Is a Non-Provisional Patent?

A non-provisional patent, also called a utility patent, protects your intellectual property from other companies or people who may try to make, use, or sell your invention without your authorization.

You can file a utility patent for many different kinds of intellectual property.

These include:

What Does Non-Provisional Mean?

In legal terms as related to the patent process, the words "non-provisional" mean "without limits" – or at least, without as many limits as a provisional patent.

A provisional patent only protects your invention for 12 months. During that time, your invention has patent pending status.

The word provisional may be defined as "temporary," or "valid" providing you meet the requirements of the USPTO to receive a non-provisional patent within the next 12 months.

Once you file and receive your non-provisional patent, it means you've completed the patent process and fulfilled all the requirements to obtain a patent for your invention. You've met all the "provisions" needed to show:

It takes time and money to conduct a patentability search and complete a non-provisional application, so it meets the parameters of the USPTO.
But it’s worth the investment to protect your intellectual property.

Why Do I Need a Non-Provisional Patent?

Once you've received your patent from the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, you can take legal action against anyone making, using, or selling your invention without permission.

Fines can be hefty for people and organizations that violate patents. If you discover someone violating your patent, you should seek legal advice from a law firm specializing in the patents process to help you recover losses and damages.

It's highly recommended to file non-provisional applications, so you have legal ground to stand on if someone violates your patents.

How Long Does a Non-Provisional Patent Last?

The type of patent you get determines how long it lasts.

A provisional patent lasts only 12 months. If you don't file your non-provisional patent application within that 12-month time period, your invention will lose its patent pending status. At that time, someone else can come in and patent your invention.

On the other hand, a non-provisional utility patent lasts 20 years. You must pay maintenance fees over the 20 years to maintain your patent.

The USPTO sets the schedule for maintenance fee payments. Pay without a surcharge at:

The USPTO also offers a grace period during which you can pay the maintenance fees plus a surcharge at:

When you submit your payments, include the patent number and the corresponding application number. You can pay:

The Patent Professor® can help you if you have any questions about payments or how to maintain your patent.

Design patents sometimes accompany utility patents, but refer only to the decorative features of an invention. A design patent lasts 14 years. You can also file a design patent separately from a utility patent to protect the unique visual characteristics of an item.

Plant patents, which protect the intellectual property of people or companies who have discovered or created a new variety of plant, also last 20 years.

What Is the Difference Between a Provisional Patent Application and a Utility Patent?

A utility patent represents the most common form of non-provisional patent, used to protect nearly any type of invention apart from plants or items and designs that are purely decorative.

A utility patent refers to an invention that has a useful purpose.

Most inventors file a provisional patent application as the predecessor to a utility patent.

A provisional patent application:

In addition, a provisional patent application doesn’t require:

On the other hand, a non-provisional patent:

Prior to filing a non-provisional patent application, the inventor or his patent attorneys should conduct a patentability search to ensure no prior art exists that could result in the patent application being rejected.

A patentability search costs additional funds and can add three to four weeks to the patent process, but it can help avoid rejection of your non-provisional patent application.

If your patent attorneys discover prior art during the patentability search, they can help you determine the next best steps. The law firm can help you modify your patent application to showcase the unique features of your invention and make a patent claim specifically on those aspects of your invention.

In a worst-case scenario, you can go back to the drawing board to make your invention unique. At least you’ve saved the time and money required to file a non-provisional patent application only to have it rejected.

How Do I File Non-Provisional Patent Applications?

It's highly recommended to seek the advice of patent attorneys in a law firm like The Patent Professor® before embarking on filing any non-provisional patent applications.

Filing a non-provisional patent application takes several steps.

1. Conduct a patentability search to find out if your idea is likely to be patentable.

2. Gather the information necessary to submit your non-provisional patent application.

3. Wait while the USPTO processes and reviews your patent.

4. Find out if your patent applicated is approved or denied.

To file non-provisional patent applications, you’ll need to show:

Specifications – This portion of your application describes the invention. The written description should be detailed enough that someone in your field could replicate and use your invention without additional details or research.

Elements of the specification section include:

Claims – The claims section defines what the patent covers – and doesn’t cover. Independent claims describe the scope of the patent in broad terms. Dependent claims provide additional details, including potential variants in the design and build of the invention.


Drawings – Detailed, technical drawings of the invention help support your patent claims and specifications.

Need Help Filing Non-Provisional Patent Applications?

Submitting a non-provisional patent application takes time. The Patent Professor® can help ensure you have all the materials required to improve the odds of receiving a patent for your invention.

Let The Patent Professor® help you protect your invention with non-provisional patent application by calling (877) 330-7492.

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