Is it OK to mention about a patent application in resume which is either under process or has been rejected?

If yes how to put it in the best way on my resume?

  • If your patent is for a process and not an actual physical invention, I wouldn't even put it down. There's a lot of anti-patent bias these days and you may unwittingly give a negative impression to someone who has one of these biases.
    – Chris E
    Sep 16, 2016 at 15:50
  • 1
    I assume the patent was for a useful product. Why not talk about the product you made, how you discovered it, who uses it, and the future of it. It be a cool talking point, at the very least. Just don't talk about the patent unless you plan to redo the submission.
    – Dan
    Sep 16, 2016 at 15:55
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    If it has been rejected why do you want to mention that you applied for a patent? Maybe you can mention your invention, depending on what it is (e.g. Hobbies: Invetor: I invented this invisible ink that never becomes visible!), but if this was just an idea without any direct application and without a patent,I don't think it is worth mentioning it in the resume.
    – Bakuriu
    Sep 16, 2016 at 16:06

3 Answers 3


Is it OK to mention about a patent application in resume which is either under process or has been rejected?

No, I'm afraid not. Your resume should only contain actual accomplishments and "failing" at something isn't much of an achievement. Of course it's not quite as black and white: a startup you ran for 2 years that ultimately folded is an accomplishment, but it's a matter of scale and importance here. If you you did have a successful patent, for most profiles that should only be a minor point on your resume, grouped under a Miscellaneous, Awards or Research section. Massively important or lucrative patents are again an exception but those are typically created with significant effort that would be part of your work history instead.

An application that's in process is functionally the same as one that failed, since you don't know the outcome. If you were absolutely, 100% sure that it would go through (and that it had value on your resume) then you could add it with an "expected" tag, similar to how you list a future graduation date.

The only exception to this is if you're applying for a job where submitting patents is a factor or the experience you got in preparing your application is directly related to the job. In that case you'd list something like "familiar with patent application process" in a skills section.

If you're talking about listing it as a bullet point in your work history because this was one of the things you did for your job, then I'd still caution against it for all the reasons mentioned so far. I wouldn't list it unless it's truly useful for a particular job opening or if you've submitted multiple applications.


As a former patent attorney, I am going to disagree with the previous answers. A patent application that was rejected does not indicate a "failure" on the part of a named inventor. Patent applications are rejected all the time, and it is rare that the inventors have much control over the process - it could simply be that the decision was made to focus on one area of commercial interest, which was found not to be patentable. Or maybe the commercial value wasn't enough to continue spending money fighting an (incorrect) objection from the Examiner.

For an inventor, being named on a patent application shows that you are producing good work which, at least initially, was deemed commercially viable enough to be worthy of spending (potentially tens of thousands of dollars) to protect. Don't make it out to be more than it is, but don't ignore it either. I would consider it to be at least as relevant as being named as a non-primary author on a paper.

For a research position, I would list the patent application (so long as it has been published, of course!) along with any other publications. For non-research positions (e.g. software engineering), I would simply give it a bullet point when listing your experience and achievements in this position.


Is it OK to mention about a patent application in resume which is either under process or has been rejected?

A resume is a tool to show off your work to potential future employers - so the question then becomes how does a failed patent show off your work?

If anything, quite clearly, it does the opposite. It shows that you didn't do enough prior research and tried to patent something that exists, or didn't understand the patent process well enough and tried to patent something unpatentable. I struggle to think of a way you could use that to show off.

A "patent pending" however is not necessarily a bad thing to put on a resume, so long as you believe it's likely to succeed, and you have other successful patents you can list it with to give some degree of confidence. 5 successful patents and 1 patent pending would tell me you have experience of the patent process, continually submit patents and so it's natural you'd have one in the pipeline. 1 patent pending on its own is much, much less meaningful.

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