I'm an undergraduate applying to graduate school and post-bacc programs, so posts like this one have been very helpful for me.

I haven't yet seen a post about patent applications, though.

So I interned at a company and they put my name on some patent applications. I asked about it here when I thought there were just 4 applications, but I signed some papers today and it turns out there are 14 patent applications that they listed me on.

I'm proud of what I did to help with those applications, but I don't think they're terribly profound observations--just some genetic targets I identified through some data analysis.

It seems like a lot to put all 14 applications on a CV. Should I? Should they have their own section?

  • Are these patent applications publicly available? Commented Jul 3, 2018 at 16:20
  • 1
    They’re not. They will be in 12 months, so maybe this advice will just be useful for applications I submit next year (I’ll likely take a year off) Commented Jul 3, 2018 at 17:34
  • Be careful. A patent application is not public, not even the title, for the first year. Your company probably files "provisional" applications.
    – cmm
    Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 0:12
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    Disclosing the applications and titles could run foul of your NDA with the company. You could say, "14 patents in poll rogre
    – cmm
    Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 0:13
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    ... progress", but i would not give details. Sorry for the broken posting... sending from my phone can lead to uneditable mistakes.
    – cmm
    Commented Jul 4, 2018 at 0:14

1 Answer 1


If you include them, they should have their own section. Issued patents are more clearly reasonable to include than pending patents, though I don't think there's anything intrinsically wrong with listing pending patents.

Whether you should include them will depend in part on your field and how you want to position yourself in that field. I would recommend consulting with professors you respect in your field.

In my field — computer science — many of us believe that the patent system is harmful to the profession. I have an issued patent, but I do not advertise it. If I saw an applicant with many pending patents listed, I would ask about it in the interview, because depending on their motivations and reasons it may be sign that our approaches to research are not compatible and they would be better off with a different adviser. Occasionally I will include it on a version of my CV that I know will be reviewed by people who care about patents, but it is not on my primary CV.

I cannot speak to the particulars of your field, or how debates about patentability play out in it. But your decision of how to structure and what to include in your CV may stake out an initial position in that debate, and if so you should be aware of it and make sure that's what you want to do.

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    Of course the patent system is harmful. But it's the system we have. Not listing them makes about as much sense as not listing your publications in for-profit journals for fear of running afoul of political views with those. They are your work products; they belong on your CV. Commented Jul 5, 2018 at 3:40
  • @ASimpleAlgorithm That is a reasonable perspective. I would personally compare it more to listing a paper in a junk journal than one in a for-profit journal, at least in my case and in the case of numerous software patents of low quality. Commented Jul 5, 2018 at 18:39
  • Maybe something like PLOS in that the criteria includes novelty but not impact. Hence readers of your CV will still need to assess that themselves. Patents can certainly have very high impact, some have thousands of citations. Commented Jul 6, 2018 at 7:41

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