Innovation Submissions
Frequently Asked Questions
Innovation Submissions

Have an Idea for an Existing Product?

If you would like to provide feedback or
suggestions on one of our existing
products, visit our Consumer Affairs page.

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What is the difference between a published and unpublished patent application?

A patent application is typically published 18 months after submission to a patent office. This publication does not mean that a patent is granted or all claims will be approved. It simply places the patent application in the public domain while being examined. During the first 18 months, the filed patent application is kept confidential and not available to the public.

What is a provisional patent and how does it differ from a regular patent?

Under United States patent law, a provisional patent application is a type of national patent application filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), but which is not examined and does not mature into an issued patent unless further steps are taken by the applicant. A provisional patent application can be characterized as a place holder for a conventional patent application and is not published. Colgate does not review ideas based on a provisional patent application.

Will Colgate pay for any of my patent and/or patent application fees?


Why won't Colgate accept ideas that do not have patents or published patent applications?

Colgate relies on US patent law to protect your rights, as well as Colgate's. As a leader in its field, Colgate is often working on many ideas internally, and if a similar idea is submitted, the patent process helps clarify ownership and priority.

How long does it take for a patent application to be published? How will I know it's been published?

Unless examined and issued as a patent earlier it will publish 18 months after submission. All published U.S. patent applications can be found in the USPTO web site (

How long does it take for an idea to come to market?

Many factors influence the time it takes to commercialize a product. It is not uncommon to take three to five years or more.

What types of ideas are NOT accepted for review? Why not?

We do not accept market or advertising ideas, because we employ experts in these fields specifically to generate and execute such ideas. Of course, product ideas without a patent or published application cannot be accepted for review.  |  |  Legal/Privacy  |  Contact Us
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