There are two types of patent applications.
The only version that grants the inventor full rights is called a non-provisional application. This submission begins the examination process that may lead to a patent being granted.
A provisional application only is used to establish a filing date without an examination.
A patent application is really a collection of documents that conform to US laws, rules, and guidelines.
Contents of an Application (utility)
Utility Patent Application Transmittal Form
List of the application elements, such as the number of sheets for a particular requirement.
Fee Transmittal Form
Used to list which fees were submitted and method of payment, such as the basic fees for filing, search, and examination due at time of application.
Application Data Sheet
Information about the inventor's name, address.
Small and Micro Entity Status
Additional forms may be necessary depending on whether you qualify for a small or micro entity.
This is the most important, which is a collection of documents that describe the invention and how it works through full, clear, concise, and exact langauge.
Criteria used to determine whether the description does explain how the invention works is to analyze the application through the eyes of an individual who has average knowledge and skill in the particular field of technology or subject matter that corresponds to the invention. For example, a computer patent is reviewed through the perspective of somebody who understands how computers work. A vehicle engine or auto body part will be examined from the perspective of somebody who understands how cars work.
The specification contains:
(a) the title of the invention
(b) cross reference to earlier applications
(c) statement regarding whether federal money was used during research or development of the invention
(d) reference to large sets of information submitted on a compact disc (CD)
(e) Background of the invention, which puts the invention into context such as current problems with technology being solved
(f) Brief Summary of the Invention: A summary of the invention, such as the advantages, purpose, and how it solves existing problems
(g) Brief Description of Drawings: An index of figures with an explanation
(h) Detailed Description of the Invention: This is the body of the application that fully explains the invention and how it is made or used in such a manner that clearly distinguishes it from all other inventions
(i) Claims: A claim defines the scope of legal protection for your invention. The claims distinctly explain what is being patented and therefore protected by law. A non-provisional application must have at least one claim. A standard submission may have at most three independent claims and twenty total claims without additional fees.
(j) Abstract of the Disclosure: A short explanation (150 words of less) that quickly discloses what is new about the invention.
All patents require technical drawings to understand the invention. These drawings depict every feature of the invention.
Inventor's Oath or Declaration
A statement by the inventor that he/she is the original or joint inventor of what is being patented.