How to Patent a Food Product to Sell

By Jeff Franco J.D./M.A./M.B.A.

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.

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.

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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.

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How to Patent Food Ideas

References

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How to Write a Provisional Patent Application

Filing a formal patent application is expensive and time-consuming, and usually requires the services of an experienced patent attorney. You can, however, file a provisional patent application with much less effort and without retaining an attorney. Filing a provisional patent application will put your invention in "patent pending" status for 12 months, preventing anyone else from filing for patent protection for the same invention. This 12-month window will buy you time to file a formal application.

How to Patent a Drink

A drink may be patented in the U.S. if it meets the legal requirements for patentability. Drinks are typically patented using utility patents. In order to receive a patent, a drink must be novel, "nonobvious," and adequately and clearly described in the patent application. An experienced patent attorney can help you through the process, but you are not required to have an attorney in order to file a patent application.

How to Fill Out a Provisional Patent Application

Filing a provisional patent application allows you to establish temporary patent protection without starting the patent term running. This means that once your invention is granted a patent, you may file a lawsuit against anyone who infringed your patent rights after the date you filed your provisional application. A provisional application is considered automatically abandoned after 12 months: Within that time you must file a non-provisional application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to keep your application alive.

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