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A non-provisional utility patent application may claim priority to a design patent application provided that the design patent application provides the proper support for the disclosure in the non-provisional application.
A design patent application may claim priority to a pending utility non-provisional patent application, but not to a provisional patent application. The drawings in the earlier filed utility non-provisional application must adequately support the drawings to be filed in the design application. The design patent application cannot claim priority to a provisional application that the utility non-provisional application claims priority to. The priority date for the design application will be the actual filing date of the utility non-provisional patent application.

A utility patent application may contain multiple sections. Some of the more relevant sections are discussed briefly below.

A background section describes a problem which the invention seeks to address, how that problem has been addressed in the past, and what deficiencies where inherent in those past attempts to solve this problem.

A detailed description section explains how each of the included embodiments of the invention works, the explanation allowing a person of ordinary skill in the art to reproduce the invention without undue experimentation.

A claim section includes a listing of independent and dependent claims, each claim defining one or more elements of an embodiment of the invention. The claims define the scope of protection provided by the patent.

A drawings section includes simple black and white line figures showing at least each of the element recited in the claims.

The term of a patent is twenty years from the patent application’s earliest priority date, excluding a provisional application priority date.
The types of patent are utility, design, and plant patents. A utility patent protects how an invention works. A design patent protects an ornamental design on a useful article. A plant patent protects new types of plants produced by cuttings or other nonsexual means.
 John C. Laurence, Esq.

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