Non-Provisional Utility Patent Application 101

USPTO grants three types of patents: Plant, design, and utility. Plant and utility are divided into two categories: provisional and non-provisional utility patent application. A provisional application is economical and reserve inventor’s rights for 12 months. If the inventor fails to obtain a patent in 12 months then the patent is canceled. A non-provisional application is more important. Examiner grants the patent based on this application.

Also read: How to write a patent claim?

Filing process

One can opt for hand.-delivery, U.S mail delivery, or EFS-web. U.S mail or hand deliverycost and an additional $400. In the case of small entities or micro-entities, It is $200. To avoid this extra charge, the Best way is to opt for EFS-web. Anyone with internet can access EFS-web. One can easily upload patent documents. However, it can’t be used for plant, design, provisional, and reissue patents.

Application details

Application language must be English or provide a translation along with statement & fee. In case of any of them is missing, the applicant is given the notice to provide the missing item in a given time.

A non-provisional utility patent application must include specifications, claims, and description. Also, it may contain an oath or declaration (optional) along with filing, search, and examination fees.

When filing through EFS, convert the document into PDF format. Here are the measurements for margins:

  • Top margin- 2 cm
  • Left-side margin- 2.5 cm
  • Right-side margin- 2 cm
  • Bottom margin- 2 cm

Also, number the pages and place the numbers in the top/bottom center of the page. The PDF size is 8.5 by 11 inches. The text must non-transcript with 1.5 or double line spacing.

A transmittal letter or is filed with the application. This letter includes drawings, declaration, specification, claims, type of application, and title of the invention.

Also read: Provisional patent example: How does it matter?


The best way is to opt for online payment. Late payments result in a fine of an extra $160. It drops down to $80 and $40 for small and micro-entity applicants respectively. If someone applies for non-provisional utility patent application through offline mode, it will cost $400 more apart from regular fees ($200 for small entities).

Application Datasheet

ADS must be submitted within four months of filing the non-provisional utility patent application. It includes any foreign or domestic priority claims. In case of correction, it must include strike-through and underlined text. Underline the new included information; highlight the removed texts in brackets. Most importantly, one can’t change the correspondence address and the inventor’s name.


This is a description of the invention. It includes the whole process of the invention and its application. It must be written in such a form that any skilled person must be able to use the patent. Make it concise, clear, and easy to understand.

If an invention involves computing programming, include the code in the description. The text must have 1.5 or double line spacing and number the pages and place the numbers in the top/bottom center of the page.

If the invention is supported by the U.S government, it is essential to mention the details that the U.S govt. holds certain rights in the invention. The correct language is:  “This invention was made with government support under [IDENTIFY THE CONTRACT] awarded by [IDENTIFY THE FEDERAL AGENCY]. The government has certain rights in the invention.

Invention Title

It is the heading on the first of the specification. The limit for the title is 500 characters. The title includes citizenship, address, name of the inventor, and title of the invention. Try to keep this as short as possible.

Other references

In case some data is submitted in compact disc, mention it in the specifications. The disc is allowed only in the case of gene program, Computer program, and tables of information. All this data must be according to guidelines in 37 CFR § 1.52(e). Use standard ASCII characters and file formats.

 Computer programs with more than 300 lines are listed in compact discs. Less than 300 lines don’t require a compact disc. If the table of data exceeds 50 pages then include a disc for it. Make sure to mention this in the specification. Make it net and perfectly align the rows and columns.

Invention Background

It describes the domain of your patent. One can also add subject matter related to the patent along with other reference documents. It must contain your knowledge about the invention and problem found in the prior art.


This is just a quick overview of the invention. Most of the information is in the background. Here one can include advantages of the invention.

Description of invention

Inventors need to disclose the full process in the description. Include both the process i.e. process of making and process of using. Completely explain about machine and components, information about the material are also included.

The main aim is that anyone with skills must be able to use the invention without too many experiments. One must mention all the elements in the drawing in the description.

The claim

This is the main invention; this is the interest of the inventor he/she wish to protect. It informs about the scope of the invention. This part decides the patent grant.

A non-provisional utility patent application has a minimum one claim. Include the claims on a separate sheet. In case of more than one claim, make sure to represent them with Arabic numerals.


This is an essential part of a non-provisional utility patent application. It helps the USPTO and the public to quickly grasp the domain of your invention. Also, it informs about the advances made in the invention in comparison to the prior art. It must be in narrative form. Include the abstract on a separate page and make sure to finish it one paragraph. More importantly, the Word limit for the abstract is 150 words.


A non-provisional utility patent application includes drawings if they are part of the invention. Almost every application includes drawings. The drawings must display every element of the invention.


It is necessary in all types of patent applications. Also, it includes some statements that are compulsory according to USPTO. It is a declaration that he/she believes himself/herself to be the genuine inventor of the product. However, there is no need for a notary in a declaration.

Personal sign of inventor is a must. The signature can be hand-written or electronic. The applicant can sign for a deceased, incapable of signing, cannot be found. Joint inventors can’t sign for a deceased or legally held person. A legal representative of a deceased inventor will sign for him/her.

The language of the oath must be the one that the inventor understands. Also, you must attach a translated copy in case the language is different. USPTO currently provides translation for 10 languages: Chinese, Spanish, German, Italian, Dutch, Swedish, Russian, Korean, Japanese, and French.

Also read:Precise patent translation: Key Points

Receipt of documents

It is possible to obtain a receipt for submitted documents. One can attach a self-addressed postcard; attach this to the first page. It must have complete details of the types of documents and the number of documents. The office will match the detail in the postcard with actual items. In case of any differences, the inventor is notified. The patent examiner put his/her initials on the postcard with complete details. This postcard is then sent back to the inventor. It counts as an evidence of the submitted documents in non-provisional utility patent application.

Here is the list of content one need to include in postcards:

  • application number (if known)
  • confirmation number (if known)
  • the filing date of the application (if known)
  • title of the invention
  • name(s) of the inventor or inventors

In case you fail to mention any item, USPTO is not responsible. It only holds the responsibility for matching the mentioned items with available items. One must pay attention while listing the items in postcards.

Color Guidelines:

USPTO requires black and white drawings in the non-provisional utility patent application. To clarify, Drawings made of solid back lines using India ink or similar ink. Furthermore, anything except black and white paintings is not acceptable. However, color utility patent drawings get approval in rare cases. The inventor needs to file a petition explaining the reason to include color drawing.

Details of Petition:

  • Petition fees: 1.17h- $130.00.
  • Set of Drawing: 3 sets of drawings beside a black and white photocopy.
  • Amendment: Language for the first Paragraph:  “The patent or application file contains at least one drawing executed in color. The office provides copies of this patent or patent application publication with color drawing(s) upon request and payment of the necessary”.


Photographs are only valid in non-provisional utility patent application if photographs display the invention in a better way. Examples: cell structure, crystalline structure, Vivo imaging, autoradiographs, etc.

Requirements: One set of a black and white photograph of the invention. More importantly, no need for additional fee or petition. Keep the format similar to drawings.  Furthermore, Photographs should capture all the views of the invention i.e. Top, Front, Back, Sides, Front, and Rear.

Format and Measurements

As per rules, Store utility patent drawings in PDF format. Similarly, Sketch layouts on paper are converted to PDF. Dimensions for the drawing sheet are 21.6 cm by 27.9 cm.

Measurements for margins are as follow:

  • the right-side margin of at least 1.5cm,
  • The left-side margin of at least 2.5cm,
  • The top margin of at least 2.5cm
  • the bottom margin of at least 1.5cm


Use consecutive Arabic numbers starting from 1in non-provisional utility patent application. Place the numbers at the top-middle of the sheet. However, Shift the numbers to the right-hand side in case of drawings occupying space.

Never mention numbers in the margin. Also, keep the numbers large enough to differentiate from the reference character. Arabic numerals starting from number 1 are used for numbering different views.

Two Arabic numerals placed on either side of an oblique line represent numbers on each sheet; the first one represents the sheet number while the second one represents the total number of sheets.

Use the same number followed by a capital letter to identify partial views making one complete view. Furthermore, these numbers are preceded by “FIG”. In the case of a single view, don’t use number or abbreviation.

As per rules, do not use brackets, circles, or quotation marks to highlight view numbers and alphabets. Also, View numbers are always larger than the numbers used for reference characters.

Reference Characters:

These small details matter a lot in non-provisional utility patent application. Inventors must describe the reference characters in the description beforehand. To clarify, use of reference characters other than mentioned in the description is not legit.

Firstly, the Mandatory print size is at least 0.8 cm. Secondly, Brackets, circles, or quotation marks not allowed highlighting reference numbers. Also, align reference numbers with the view of the utility patents drawing. In other words, it must be visible without rotating the sheet.

Underlining the reference characters is lawful in some cases. Most importantly, the same reference numerals are used to highlight the parts used again in a different view.


Include all possible views for a better understanding of the product. To sum up, include plain, elevated, sectional, and perspective views in your drawing.

Group all views in an upright position without wasting any space. Sheets containing views and specification, claim, or abstract sheets are kept seperate.

Most importantly, do not use projection lines to connect views. Also, it must not contain center lines. Utility patent drawings that represent waveforms and time-dependent graphs are connected with dash lines.

Guidelines for different views:

USPTO has strict guidelines for views in non-patent utility applications. One must comply with these guidelines to avoid any issues.

  • Exploded view: Enclose the exploded views in brackets to represent the assembly of  parts
  • Partial View: Separating different parts of utility patent drawings for better understanding is acceptable. Also, include one single drawing consisting of all separate parts. While breaking down the views, Maintain correlation for easy understanding.
  • Sectional View: Broken lines represent the section cut from drawing. Use arrows to indicate the direction of sight also with Arabic or Roman numeral to represent the view number of the sectional view.
  •  Use regularly spaced oblique line while hatching to represent section portion. Hatching must not overlap the reference character and lead lines. However, discontinue the hatching when the reference number coincides with hatching. Furthermore, Hatching lines must have a 45-degree angle.
  • Alternate Position: Broken lines superimposing on a suitable view represent an alternate position but keep it neat and clear. Otherwise, Use an alternate view for this purpose.

Arrangement of Views:

No overlapping of views. Most importantly, align all the views in the same direction. If possible, it must be easily visible when the sheet is in an upright position.

 If the illustration is larger than the sheet, turn the sheet in a way so that its top margin becomes right side margin.

The non-provisional utility patent application requires a view on the front page along with the figure number. FrontPage figure perfectly illustrates the invention from the inventor’s perspective.

Shading Guide:

Shading highlights particular features of utility patent drawings. They indicate spherical, conical, cylindrical elements, or surface delineations. Use less number of equally spaced lines while shading. Moreover, Pitch black shading is prohibited (except in the case of bar graphs).


Using universally recognized symbols is valid. The use of any other symbol is subject to the approval of USPTO. Also, Use the symbols appropriately.

Also read: Patent filing: Know how to proceed

Arrows and Lead Lines:

Lead lines indicate the details of the reference characters. Use short, straight, or curve lead lines as per the requirement. Most importantly, avoid the intersection of lead lines in non-provisional utility patent application.

Arrows define the direction of the movement. However, Different arrows used have different meanings.

  • A freestanding arrow on a lead line indicates the entire section
  • An arrow touching the lead line indicates a particular surface

Additional points to remember:

Identification of Drawings: In the case of paper filing, Top margin of each sheet must include Title of invention, name of the inventor, contact number of the inventor, and docket number. These details are important If USPTO is unable to match the utility patent drawings to the application.

Graphic Forms in Drawing: Utility Patent Chemical Formula, Trigonometric graphs, Waveforms are some of the graphic forms included in utility patent drawings. According to USPTO guidelines, convert graphic forms into the normal drawing before inclusion.

Graphic Forms in Drawing: Utility Patent Drawings include Chemical Formula, Trigonometric graphs, Waveforms as the graphic forms. According to USPTO guidelines, convert graphic forms into the normal drawing before inclusion.

Copyright and Mask work:  Copyright rights notice must have a print size of 0.32 cm to 0.64 cm. Above all; this notice must be in sight of the drawing placed below the copyright figure.

Security Marks: Mention these markings in the top margin of the utility patent drawings.

Want to draft an error-proof patent application? – The Patent Drafting Catalyst.

We have a team of best paralegal professionals. Our services include an end to end IDS management, docketing, documenting drafting, data verification, proofreading. Also, we own a team of 100+ drafters dealing with 1500+ applications annually.  Over a decade of experience help us to deliver the best results to achieve customer satisfaction. Moreover, to know more about our services, kindly visit- Patent Drafting Catalyst.

Other articles:

Patent docketing needs in the IP lifestyle.

Patent Drafting Vitals: You can’t miss these!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *