Utility patents are the most common type of patent application filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. A utility patent covers “any new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof.”

A utility patent is similar to design and plant patents in how they protect an invention. Specifically, they all grant the patent owner the right to exclude others from making, using, selling, or offering to sell the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States.

Furthermore, in most cases, utility patents have a lifespan of 20 years from the date on which the application for the patent was filed in the United States.