The closest I can find is the Nonprovisional (Utility) Patent Application Filing Guide.

I'm having a hard time converting that into an application. What I think would be easier is just a template where I can replace the current text with my own text.

Perhaps they could offer them by type. For example mine would be a non-provisional utility patent.

I have done a provisional patent and that was easier because it's not as strict so I was able to just Google a template. I've been listening to a podcast on how to fill out a non-provisional patent application. A couple times actually and I've taken notes. But I'm still at a loss. I can't even move 1mm forward.

On Google patents you can download the patent in PDF form. But those documents have a lot of intricacies to them. For example they might have a field with an underline that goes halfway across the page. They might put some things in the center and some things on the side. I don't see the information about how to do that formatting anywhere.

A template where I can just replace the existing text with my own would be super helpful.

It would also be nice if they made it more clear about how to fill out an application data sheet and what the rules are for using flow charts. But that's just extra. I can't even write the basic application because I don't know where to start aside from reading that entire document that I linked to and I don't even think that would help to be honest with you.

  • 1
    The bottom line, in my opinion, is that the only reliable way of getting a useful patent is to hire a patent attorney or agent. There are books available so you could buy one of those, but really it is hard to get a patent and harder still to get a patent that actually protects you.
    – Eric S
    Commented Jun 26, 2020 at 16:52
  • 2
    If you are looking at a published application or a granted patent that is not the format of an application. There is no fancy formatting in an application. To see an application, as submitted, you can look in Public PAIR. You can just use Word normally. The MPEP has paper size and margin rules. It has rules for location of page numbering and recommendation on paragraph numbering. It is easier to turn on line numbering in Word which is fine also. If you are this lost now you will need a big effort on your part to learn the basics. And the basics are not enough to end up with rights.
    – George White
    Commented Jun 26, 2020 at 20:42
  • That invalidates a lot of the mythos about getting a patent pro se. I hate to say it this exact way but that isn't fair. The little guy can straight up be stolen from. This protects those who already have the means while harming those who don't (time and money spent on what will be a fruitless venture inspired by the fantasy of pulling ones-self up from their bootstraps). Maybe you can get lucky and get it done pro bono but that is a huge maybe. ....in any case, I still think something is better than nothing. I just need an example so I know what it's supposed to look like.
    – user875234
    Commented Jun 26, 2020 at 20:56
  • Thanks for your replies. I do appreciate them.
    – user875234
    Commented Jun 26, 2020 at 20:57
  • 1
    I've heard this book is okay. The problem is a patent is a legal document and you have to know some of the law to write one well. amazon.com/Patent-Yourself-Step-Step-Filing/dp/1413325394/…
    – Eric S
    Commented Jun 27, 2020 at 17:48

1 Answer 1


Regarding examples - The USPTO lets anyone with an internet connection look at every application filed in the last 30 years or so that was published and/or resulted in a patent. All back and forth between the supplicate and office are in the public domain once the document is published/granted. You find this in a USPTO database called PUBLIC PAIR. It has an unforgiving interface but if you correctly put in a patent number you will get to see the entire history of the proceedings including the application as filed.

Do a search for a recent patent in your field and look it up in PAIR. Under the Image File Wrapper tab is the PDFs of all of the documents exchanged. Near the bottom you will find the specification and the claims and the drawings.

If you are serious you can then look up the first rejection. If you do this, imagine you got the rejection and needed to respond. I'm not saying it isn't doable but you will need to make understanding the patent system a very high priority hobby.

Patents are a form of a monopoly given by the government in return for a clear and complete disclosure of something new (as in never done or written about publicly anywhere, anytime, in any language). It must also be non obvious to a generic person of ordinary skill in the field who knows everything relevant ever published. And the bounds of what you are claiming is yours needs to be clear so we can tell if someone is infringing it or just coming close.

All of that leads to a long history of decisions about what words mean what, etc. A small guy can write and file and prosecute and get a patent granted but it is complicated and will take dedicated effort. The most recommended book is Patent it Yourself by David Pressman. I think it is now up to $39.The edition I have is 460+ pages. It includes a sample application for this patent. If it doesn't show flow charts there is a companion book on patent drawing that does.

The section of the MPEP that covers paper size, etc. is under 37 CFR 1.52 Language, paper, writing, margins, compact disc specifications.

The UPTO does have a pro-bono program. To be eligible there are income requirements, you need to file your own provisional and you need to go through an on-line class. The attorney is free but you need to pay the filing fees, etc.

  • Thanks again George! Hopefully I'll be out of your hair soon.
    – user875234
    Commented Jun 26, 2020 at 22:06
  • Thank you this is extremely useful!
    – Pa_
    Commented Feb 16, 2021 at 11:44

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .