Should You Consider a Continuation or a Continuation-In-Part Patent Application?

Deciding Between A Continuation vs. A Continuation-In-Part Patent Application.

Ever tried to navigate the maze of patent applications? There is the provisional patent application, the non-provisional patent application, the continuation patent application, the continuation-in-part patent application, and the divisional patent application. It’s like deciphering a complex code, where every turn leads you to more questions than answers. You’re not alone in this labyrinth.

In this article, we will explore the difference between a Continuation Patent Application and a Continuation-In-Part Patent Application. Sounds intricate, doesn’t it? But why should you care about these two distinct paths?

Imagine being an inventor with a groundbreaking idea. Now picture refining that idea over time, adding layers of innovation and improvements to it – How do you protect your evolving invention?

This is where understanding the difference becomes crucial. It is akin to choosing between upgrading your existing car or buying a new car with additional features. Let’s clear things up in this guide, alright?

We’re going to dive into these patent application types for you, the inventor. Let’s look at the importance of each patent application and how they could affect your initial filing. So, what do you say?

Understanding the Different Types of Patent Applications.

The Role of a Parent Application in Patent Prosecution.

The world of patents is diverse with a variety of patent application types to choose from. A parent patent application lays the groundwork for your invention’s earlier filing. It is a prior application to a continuation application. A parent patent application serves as the starting point in your invention’s journey toward securing a patent. It’s this original filing within the patent examination procedure that lays claim to an invention, establishing priority over any subsequent application claims. But it doesn’t stop there. 

If you wish to modify or add further concepts or features to your invention’s scope after the initial submission of your initial filing, then continuation, and continuation-in-part (CIP) applications come into play. Understanding each of their roles in the patent journey is extremely helpful and important.

Diving into Continuation Patent Applications.

Continuation applications, akin to sequel movies, let inventors carry forward their inventive concept from where it was left off in the parent application’s narrative while retaining the original filing date advantage (a.k.a the ‘priority date’). Continuation patent applications allow modification and fine-tuning of claims without changing much else about your idea. Continuation-In-Part Applications, on the other hand, are like director’s cuts. Not only do they contain all material disclosed by the parent application, but they also introduce at least some new matter.

Key Stat 1: Over half (53%) – yes you heard right – A vast majority of U.S patents granted stem from either a continuation patent application or a CIP patent application. Talk about being popular.

Deciphering Continuation-In-Part (CIP) Applications.

An in-depth analysis of continuation-in-part patent applications and how they allow for the addition of new matter to the specification, drawings, and claims. A Continuation-In-Part application, or CIP for short, is a powerful tool in patent prosecution. Unlike continuation applications, which primarily modify claims from an original parent filing, a CIP lets inventors add new matter to their disclosure, which otherwise cannot be added unless you file a completely new patent application. The main appeal of the CIP application lies in its ability to introduce fresh subject matter that wasn’t disclosed earlier in the parent application. 

But remember – it must still relate logically to the initial filing and claim benefit from its priority date.

Difference Between Continuation Patent Application and Continuation-In-Part Patent Applications.

A comparison between continuation and continuation-in-part patent applications highlighting their differences and uses. The difference between a continuation patent application and a continuation-in-part patent application often hinges on the nature of revisions made. A continuation patent application generally tweaks existing claims without adding any new matter. A CIP includes additional features considered as new matter that is absent in the prior art covered by your original filing. 

This flexibility allows inventors listed on the nonprovisional patent application more room to further refine their inventive concepts while retaining some advantages from their earlier submission like bypassing certain office actions related to previously allowed claims. If you’ve got updates beyond what was claimed initially or want to expand upon your invention’s potential features – go with a CIP Application

Just keep in mind that only those parts consistent with your earlier nonprovisional will be given an earlier priority date. Any claims pertaining to the new matter will not enjoy the earlier priority date of the parent application.

Navigating the Difference Between Continuation Patent Application and Continuation-In-Part Patent Applications.

Choosing between a continuation or CIP application is like deciding on a route for your invention’s journey. Deciding which path to take depends on your goals.

The Impact of Filing Continuation Patent Application and Continuation-In-Part Patent Application on the Patent’s Term.

A continuation patent application, just like an encore at a concert, lets you make more claims based on your original filing without adding matter. The benefit? You keep the priority date from your earlier nonprovisional application. In contrast, a CIP (Continuation-In-Part) patent application can be seen as remixing an old song with new beats. This type of patent application allows for additional features or new matter, not in the initial filing but diluting its claim to the earlier parent due to the new subject matter introduced later.

Your choice will have implications on the patent term. A valuable filing strategy would consider whether these additions are essential enough to justify possibly exposing them to prior art through delayed priority dating.

    1. Candidates: 1) Novel ideas within allowed claims scope; 2) Matter disclosed after primary examiner office action.

FAQs – Difference Between Continuation Patent Application and Continuation-In-Part.

What is a continuation-in-part patent application?

A Continuation-In-Part (CIP) application adds new matter absent in the earlier patent disclosure, combining the original content with fresh new innovations or improvements.

What is the difference between CIP and continuation application?

CIP applications add new matter to a parent patent while continuation applications modify or clarify claims without adding any new matter.

What is the patent term of a continuation application?

The term for a continuation patent mirrors that of its parent application – typically 20 years from the initial filing date.  In other words, a continuation application gets 20 years from the filing date of the parent patent application without extending any patent term. 

What is the patent term of a continuation-in-part application?

The term for a continuation-in-part patent does not mirror that of its parent application. Any claims that contain the newly added matter are given 20 years from CIP’s filing date, not the parent application’s filing date.  In other words, a continuation-in-part patent application gets 20 years from the filing date of the CIP. 


Navigating the patent application process is like piecing together a puzzle. It’s complex, but with each piece you fit into place, it gets easier. The “difference between Continuation Patent Application and Continuation-In-Part” might have seemed intimidating at first glance. But now? You’re armed with some knowledge to make an informed decision about which path suits your evolving invention best. 

Remember that continuation applications let you modify claims while keeping the original filing date. On the other hand, CIP’s allow adding new matter introduced after your initial filing but give priority only to content existing in the parent application. Ultimately, it all boils down to what fits best with your innovation journey and how strategically you use these tools to protect your ideas. Because mastering this difference? That’s one giant leap toward securing successful patent protection!

Book a consultation with the Attorney at Nadkarni Law PLLC if you have any questions about how to best strategize on protecting improvements to your existing invention.


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