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    Wednesday, June 16, 2010

    A Plethora of Patent Applications

    Many entrepreneurs, seeking knowledge and thrift in cost, research the patent process online. Invariably, they come away with spotty information and even that is usually wrong. One area of confusion is the type of patent applications that are available.

    This entry provides a list of some of the types of patent applications that entrepreneurs can come across:

    • Provisional: these applications do not yield “provisional patents”. Instead, they are temporary patent applications that give a priority date for only so much as is actually disclosed and enabled in the application, and it is only good for one year. If a nonprovisional is not filed within that year, the priority date is blown. Many entrepreneurs seeking self-help damage or destroy whatever intellectual property rights they may have through ill-considered use of the provisional patent application procedure.
    • Nonprovisional: these are regular patent applications, whether utility, design, or plant, that are examined by the Patent Office.
    • International: these are various species of patent applications that can be Patent Cooperation Treating (PCT) applications filed at the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO), or foreign applications, or regional applications.
    • PCT international: these are international patent applications filed under the PCT with a WIPO Receiving Office. They are useful for countries that are signatories to the PCT.
    • Foreign: these are applications filed in foreign countries.
    • Regional: these are applications filed in foreign regions that have set up regional reviewing authorities, such at the European Patent Organization (EPO).
    • Non-PCT international: these are foreign applications filed with Countries that re not signatories to the PCT.
    • Utility: these are what mot people think of when they think of inventions. These are regular patent applications that are not filed as design (ornamental) patent applications or plant patent applications.
    • Design: these are patent applications filed under the design patent application procedure and are for ornamental features of functional articles.
    • Plant: these are patent applications covering organic plants (as opposed to, for example, factories).
    • Continuation: these are applications that are filed during, and claiming priority to, a pending patent application.
    • Continuation-in-part: these are continuation applications that include additional new matter.
    • Divisional: these are continuation applications that essentially divide the original application into two different applications two cover two different inventions.
    • CPA: these are patent applications, no longer in use, which essentially continued examination of the original patent application.
    • Substitute: these are a misnomer in the sense that it is not a substitute patent application, but rather a substitute specification replacing the specification in a patent application.

    Important note: This list is not comprehensive.

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