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A utility patent is a patent which protects the functionality or usefulness of an invention. Most people think of a utility patent -- when thinking about the general idea of "I want to get a patent." The reason being is that having a utility patent allows the owner of the patent to exclude others from using the invention for the life of the utility patent, which is 20 years from the filing date of the application. Also, a utility patent can encompass a physical object, chemical, or process -- and the invention can be defined where the patent will protect more than one version of that invention -- or in other words multiple embodiments of the invention. For instance, if an invention is defined as, "An apparatus comprising, a hollow cylindrical member, where the hollow cylindrical member is attached to a writing tip." -- then the patent will protect embodiments of the invention -- or versions of the invention -- such as a very thin cylindrical member or very wide cylindrical member - or a writing tip made from graphite or a writing tip made of chalk.
The description will include a detailed written description of the invention and drawings.
The claims are a written description of the invention – although the claims follow the requirements set forth by the Patent Office.
Further information about the patent process and strategy: Nonprovisional Patent Applications Versus Provisional Patent Applications - the difference - when and why to use either application.
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