A utility patent is a patent that protects the functional aspects of a patent but not the non-utilitarian features of its design.
Filing of utility patent application:
A utility patent application should be filed at some point prior to the first public use, sale, offer to sell or publication disclosing the invention.
What do I need to include in my utility patent application?
The filing requirements of utility patents are as follows: a Utility Patent Application Transmittal Form/Letter (identifies what is contained in the application), Fee Transmittal Form and fees, Application Data Sheet, Specification, Drawings (if necessary) and a signed oath/declaration
Guidelines for completing utility patent applications:
The Patent and Trademark Office has established guidelines for completing utility patent applications. For a complete walk through of the guidelines, visit http://www.uspto.gov/inventors/guide_file_utility_pat_app.pdf.
Comparing Design Patents and Utility Patents
Design patents protect the aesthetic aspects of an invention and last for 14-year terms. Utility patent protect the functional aspects of an invention and last for 20-year terms. Both design and utility patents must be novel, nonobvious and must be sufficiently disclosed in written form. However, design patents have no utility requirement as demonstrated utility is a bar to a design patent. The subject matter of design patents and utility patents also differ. Utility patents can be granted for any process, machine, manufacture, composition of matter or improvement thereof. Design patents are granted for the surface ornamentation or internal configuration of an embodiment.