The patent process: How to apply

Here are the most important requirements for the form and content of a patent application.

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Use professional help

Applying for a patent can be complicated if you are not familiar with this. We therefore recommend using a professional patent attorney to help you. Read more about how to find the right adviser.

Read more about Timeline for the patent process

Timeline for the patent process

For the first 18 months after you have submitted your application to the Norwegian Industrial Property Office, only you and your authorized representative, if any, can receive information about the application. Get an overview of the entire application process.

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After you have obtained a right

Once you have obtained a patent, you have several opportunities to achieve financial gain from your investments. Read more about what you should think about after you have received a patent.

The content of the application

A patent application consists of several parts. A title, description, patent claims and, if relevant, drawings, as well as an abstract. 

The description must be written in enough detail to enable a skilled person to carry out the invention. The application is a recipe that allows others to recreate what you have done.

The patent claims are a concretization of what you claim exclusive rights to.

All necessary details must be included when the application is filed, as it is not allowed to add more information later.

How to write the content


The application must have a title that is short and factual and that says something about the invention. Examples of titles: "Procedure for removing microorganisms", "Yarn blowing for fishing gear".


The description must be a detailed description of the invention that is clear enough such that a skilled person can carry out the invention based on how it is described in the description.

An application should include several elements in the description:

Describe what problem the invention solves, what your invention is (technical features) and how the technical problem is solved by means of the invention. 

Here you write which prior art the invention is based on. Refer to literature you are familiar with, write the patent number, article, textbook, URL or similar. Write briefly what makes your invention better, or work better, than what is already known.

If you are adding drawings, the description should contain a numbered list with brief information about what each of the drawings shows.

Here you specify in detail how the invention will work by specifying the features necessary for a skilled person to carry out the invention. A detailed explanation of at least one way to carry out the invention must be given.

One example of implementation may suffice, but if the patent claims cover a wide field, the description must have several examples spanning the entire area protected by the patent claims. If the application contains drawings, these must be explained and the number references on the drawings used in the description of the invention.

Patent claims

The patent claims must be a specific indication of what you areattempting to patent. The patent claims must be clear, and all features must be described in the description. The formulation and content of the patent claims are very important, since it is the patent claims that define which exclusive rights you get.

There are two types of patent claims: patent claims that define a physical object and patent claims that define a procedure.

You must include at least one independent claim that demonstrates significant features of the invention.

You may also add dependent patent claims. Dependent patent claims shall contain additional features and must refer to the independent patent claim.

  • Use general but specific expressions.
  • Use simple language.
  • Try to generalize so that competitors cannot easily bypass your patent.
  • It is important that you do not limit yourself to a narrow implementation of the invention. Do not use the word "screw" which is limiting, if the invention can be used with other types of fasteners such as rivets, nails, glue, soldering, etc.
  • Write each claim in one sentence. Describe the means, not the impact or what is achieved.
  • You should use numbered references to figures to aid the understanding for the reader.

The terms "include", "comprise", "encompass" and "consist of” have a specific meaning when used in patent claims.

  • "Comprise”, “encompass” and “include” means that in addition to the features mentioned in the patent claim, there may be other features present in the invention.  In other words, a more open term.
  • "Consists of" is a defining term and we interpret it to mean that the invention consists only of what is explicitly mentioned.


If it is necessary for the understanding of the invention, the application must contain drawings.

We recommend that you deliver drawings in black and white, since the documents are converted to grayscale when announced. This will lead to a major loss in visual quality if you deliver color images.


The abstract is a brief summary of what appears in the description, patent claims and drawings. The summary should not contain more than 150 words. And you should specify which drawing you want published along with the summary.

How should the application look like?


The application should be written in font Verdana 10 or similar.

Page numbering

  • Description: All pages in the description should have page numbers. On each side, either every fifth line must be numbered, or the paragraphs must have numbers.
  • The patent claims are written on a separate page, the numbering of pages continues from the description. Every fifth line should be numbered.
  • Drawings: should be numbered and collected on separate pages, and not placed in the description as part of the text. There should be no text on the drawing, apart from brief indications such as "water", "steam" or "closed", which may be allowed. We recommend filing drawings in black and white, since the documents are converted to greyscale upon publishing, it will lead to a large loss in visual quality if colour images are submitted.



A patent application must be written in Norwegian or English. If you file an application in another language, you will be instructed to translate the application into Norwegian or English. All documents in the application must be in the same language. You cannot change the language of the documents after the application has been submitted.

If you think it is easiest to describe your invention in Norwegian, we recommend that you file the application in Norwegian.

If you file the application in English, it may simplify the work if you are applying for a patent in other countries that accept English as the application language.

In principle, NIPO process applications in Norwegian but you can request to have the case processed in English.

Applications submitted in Norwegian receive provisional protection in Norway for the period from when the application is published and until any notification. To obtain provisional protection for applications filed in English, you must submit a Norwegian translation of the patent claims. We recommend that you do so within 16 months of filing the application.

When your application is approved, you must submit a Norwegian translation of the approved patent claims.

File formats

We recommend that you use the following file format:

  • For text documents: .docx or .PDF
  • For photos: .jpg
  • For lists: .xml

We cannot receive files via external file transfer programs such as Google Apps, Dropbox or WeTransfer. You must file documents via Altinn or e-mail. 


You can either pay the application fee when you file the application or receive an invoice.

Read more about Start a patent application

Start a patent application

Go directly to our application wizard to start the application process. The link goes to a login page. After logging in, you can start the application.

Read more about Faster processing of patent applications

Faster processing of patent applications

It usually takes 5-7 months from the time you submit an application until you receive the first opinion on whether the application can become a patent or not. With faster processing, you can shorten the response time.

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