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Types of Patent Protection: Published Patent Application

Publication of Patent Applications

If a patent does not issue within 18 months (and with average pendency of 30 months it likely will not) it is generally published.  This does not indicate that it will ever issue, but it does give public notice of what is in the pipeline, and it gives the inventor the benefit of claiming "patent pending."  There are no legal rights associated with the patent until it is actually granted.  Published Patent Applications can be found at the USPTO AppFT Database.

Bibliographic Data

Patent Application Publication Number

Publication Date

Title of Invention *

Applicant: * an individual or company/organization

Inventor: * one or more individuals

Assignee: * generally an organization/company/organization (if any)

Application Number: different from the Patent Application Publication Number

Application Date

Classification information: * subject to change as patent is examined

Abstract:  A brief description of the invention

Drawings: required when they are necessary to the understanding of the invention

Covered in Section 1825 of the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP).  The physical requirements for drawings are outlined in PCT Rule 11.

* Can be searched to yield other relevant patents

Business Method

Specification: is a written description of the invention, comprising the following parts:

  • Title
  • Cross-reference to related applications: to help identify related documents such as provisional patent application, etc.
  • Background of the Invention: to highlight benefits of new invention over current art.
  • Summary of the invention: details of the claims rather than the invention as a whole (as in the background).
  • Description of the Drawings
  • Detailed Description of the Invention: a broad description with additional specific examples of certain embodiments
  • Sequence listing: if a nucleic acid or amino acid sequences is included.
  • Abstract

Claims: the heart of the patent, delimiting what is legally covered - and not covered - by the patent.

This is where the legal requirements are outlined in great details, in independent and dependent claims.  See Section 2173 of the Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP) for further detail.