Paper addresses the different methods for protecting intellectual property in modern knowledge-based economies. The focus of the paper is a comparison between the procedures for applying for patents in Poland and the United States. The comparison has been made from the perspective of the cost of obtaining and maintaining a patent in Poland, the United States and some other countries. The comparison has also been made from the perspective of the procedures for applying for a patent in different countries based on the Patent Cooperation Treaty. The paper also includes a comparison of the time needed for processing the patent application. Low cost provisional twelve-month patent pending protection available in the United States is also being discussed. The paper also provides some guidance and recommendations for conducting a patent search in order to validate the originality of the invention.