How to Patent a Food Product to Sell

by Jeff Franco
    New food products can benefit from patent protection.

    New food products can benefit from patent protection.

    Jupiterimages/BananaStock/Getty Images

    The United States Patent and Trademark Office, or USPTO, is responsible for reviewing patent applications of new inventions. If you create a new food product that you intend to sell, obtaining a patent is beneficial since it provides you with legal protection in the event another person or organization tries to profit from your food invention. However, preparing your non-provisional utility patent application requires a number of documents that can take some time to prepare.

    Step 1

    Search the USPTO database for existing patents. The USPTO online database allows you to search through existing food patents using a number of search parameters, such as patent number, date of issue and product descriptions. Prior to filing a patent application, you must insure that your food product is unique, meaning that a patent doesn’t exist for the same product.

    Step 2

    Prepare the utility patent application transmittal form. When filling out the transmittal form on Form PTO/SB/05, you must include your full name, the title of the food product you seek patent protection for and a list of all documents you are submitting with the application.

    Step 3

    Draft a written description of the food product. Your description must include the information for each of the 13 headings the USPTO requires under the specifications section in its Guide to Filing a Utility Patent Application. Write “not applicable” under the headings that aren’t relevant to your food product.

    Step 4

    Draw pictures of the food product in black and white. Multiple drawings, each depicting a different angle or view of the food product, are necessary if you’re unable to include all distinguishing characteristics in a single drawing. Each view must be appear on a separate page.

    Step 5

    Fill out an oath or declaration form. The USPTO provides standard oath and declaration forms on its website for download. Regardless of the form you choose, you must report the food product’s title, your address and country of citizenship and the names of all inventors on it.

    Step 6

    Prepare a fee transmittal form. Obtain Form PTO/SB/17 from the USPTO website and follow the instructions to calculate the appropriate patent application fee. The USPTO requires that you make payment by check or credit card at the time of filing your patent application.

    Step 7

    File your food product patent application. You can submit all patent application materials electronically using the USPTO’s EFS-Web service. The USPTO encourages electronic applications and increases the fee if you decide to file on paper. If you prefer to file by mail, send all your paperwork to the address listed on the application.

    Tips & Warnings

    • If your patent application includes an extensive amount of documents, the USPTO allows you to submit an application data sheet that provides the government patent attorney reviewing your application bibliographic data.
    • You can access every form the patent application requires on the USPTO website.
    • Submitting drawings of your food product as part of your patent application is not a USPTO requirement unless it’s essential for understanding your food product. However, if you fail to furnish one with the application and the agency determines it’s necessary, your application will be incomplete until you provide one.

    About the Author

    Jeff Franco's professional writing career began in 2010. With expertise in federal taxation, law and accounting, he has published articles in various online publications. Franco holds a Master of Business Administration in accounting and a Master of Science in taxation from Fordham University. He also holds a Juris Doctor from Brooklyn Law School.

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