If you’re filing a paper application via U.S. mail, you must submit a cover sheet with your design patent application. The USPTO has prepared one that we recommend you use. A sample is shown below. To obtain this form, go to the USPTO home page at www.uspto.gov, choose “Patents,” and then choose “Patent Forms,” and download Form SB0018. Click here to locate the PDF.
The cover sheet is a “fillable” PDF form, which means that you can enter (but not save) information onto the form using a current version of Adobe Acrobat. You can also print out a copy of the form and fill in the blanks using a typewriter or pen.
Here’s the information you’ll need to supply:
- First Named Inventor. At the top of the form, there’s a box for the First Named Inventor. Fill in the name of one of the designers.
- Title. In this section, provide your design title as indicated in your specification.
- Express Mail Label Number. Again, assuming you’re filing by mail, copy this number from the Express Mail label (the bottom page). You don’t have to use U.S. Express Mail. If you wish, or if you’re not in the United States, you can mail your design patent application by regular mail or by an overnight express service such as Federal Express. However, any document sent by Express Mail that includes the Express Mail Number on the cover letter will be considered received on the day you mail it. (37 C.F.R. § 1.10.)
- Application Elements. Check the “Fee Transmittal Form” box and check “Applicant claims small entity status.” (You have small entity status if you are an independent designer, or if the company that owns the design is a nonprofit, or a for-profit company with 500 or fewer employees.) Check the “Specification” box and indicate how many pages you’re sending in the box to the right. Check the “Drawings” box and indicate the number of drawing sheets in the box to the right.
- Oath or Declaration. Check the “Newly executed” box. You will include a separate declaration.
- Application Data Sheet. Do not check this box. (An Application Data Sheet is a voluntary submission that includes additional information about you and your design—there’s no need to bother with it.)
- Accompanying Application Parts. With the exception of the “Return Receipt Postcard,” these choices will probably not apply to you.
- Correspondence Address. Provide an address where the USPTO can send correspondence regarding your design. If you have a USPTO Customer Number (many law firms and corporations do), mark the box and provide the number, or use a bar code sticker. Otherwise, mark the box “Correspondence address below” and write the name of the individual or company that should receive mail from the USPTO. If you fail to include something in your package, the PTO’s Office of Preliminary Examination will send you a letter telling you what to do and what fees you will be charged for the error. Supply what is needed, following the instructions in the letter.
The Fee Transmittal
If filing by mail, you will need to fill and enclouse the Fee Transmittal, Form SB17, a one-page form that you can download (click here) from the USPTO website. Indicate your method of payment. Your choices are:
- Check or Money Order. If you pay by check or money order, mark this box and include a check payable to Commissioner for Patents.
- Deposit Account Number. Disregard this box unless you maintain a deposit account at the USPTO.
- Payment by Credit Card. If you want to pay by credit card, check the box and provide the information required.