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A patent application is written by the inventor and/or his attorney or agent and consists of a collection of documents which are submitted to the Patent and Trademark Office for examination. The format of the patent application is virtually identical to a patent, and includes additional documentation. The filing fee is considered part of the application. You may examine the fee schedule at the Science Reference Desk or on the Internet at Patent Fees (

These patent books (available for use in the library in the Science Section) contain information on the application process:

Patent It Yourself, by David Pressman, 1999

A Guide To Filing a Design Patent Application, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, 1996

A Guide To Filing a Utility Patent Application, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, 1998

The Patent Drawing Book, by Jack Lo, 1997

If you need the services of a patent attorney, a list of registered patent attorneys and agents is available by consulting the "Attorney Roster" on the CASSIS ASSIST CDROM, or the PTO's web site at Attorney/Agent Search (

The Manual of Patent Examining Procedure is available for consultation on the CASSIS Patents ASSIST CDROM, and on the Internet at MPEP (

If you are not ready to begin the complete patent application process you may want to consider the Disclosure Document program ( or filing a Provisional Patent Application ( Brochures describing these programs are available in the Science Section and on the PTO's website.