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Preliminary Patent Application Process

Where do I start?

Applying for a patent can be a lengthy and confusing process, but we can help you along the way. Here is a basic list of the order in which this process usually works, with some variation:

  1. Find out if your invention is patentable.
    • Is your invention novel, unique, and non-obvious?
    • Can your invention be found in public (in a store, online, in research articles, books, etc.)?
    • Define your invention. What makes your invention unique?
    • Conduct a patent search. Has your invention been patented in the U.S. or a foreign country? Click on "Patent Searching" on the left for more information.
  2. Decide what type of patent you would like to apply for. See "Types of Patents" on the left.
  3. Decide whether or not you would like legal assistance. See "Legal Assistance" on the left. If you are filing by yourself (pro se), acquire the appropriate filing forms and begin writing your application with the necessary information.
  4. Submit your application online or by mail. (Filing online will be less expensive.)

For books and brochures about patents and the application process, click on the "Books and Brochures" page on the left. The USPTO website has several helpful guides. You may want to begin with The Patent Process Overview or Getting Started for other resources.

Patents at WSU

SOAR Logo Patents assigned to Wichita State University can be found in our Shocker Open Access    Repository (SOAR) online at


The USPTO has been working on new tools to help inventors and researchers:

MyUSPTO allows users to access the same USPTO databases and save their searches with a unique login.

PatentsView maps patent clusters geographically and according to technology or industry.

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