How to File a Provisional Patent Application Online
If you’re an inventor with a great idea, filing for a provisional patent application might be your best bet. This low-cost option gives you a filing date at the USPTO that’s official.
Filing a provisional patent application can be done online or by post. The standard filing fee is $300, but small entities pay $150 and micro entities only $75.
1. Identify your invention.
A provisional patent application is an excellent way to safeguard a new idea before you invest in the time-consuming and costly process of filing for a utility patent. A provisional application safeguards the invention from being copied during the 12-month period before filing for patent protection, helping you determine whether it has commercial potential or not.
The initial step in inventing is identifying it. This can be accomplished through conducting a patent search and getting legal opinion about your invention. Additionally, you may ask a lawyer to review your invention prior to filing it so that no laws are broken.
Once you’ve identified your invention, you can fill out a USPTO provisional patent application online. The USPTO offers this convenient service that allows you to submit documents and make fee payments from anywhere. Unfortunately, the fees are quite high and the process can take some time.
Once you are ready to file the patent, begin by uploading all documentation in PDF format. Double-check that all of your files are valid – if any are invalid, they cannot be submitted for consideration.
Additionally, you should include drawings of your invention such as diagrams, sketches and graphs. These could include representations of the structure and function of your invention as well as flowcharts that demonstrate how it operates.
If you plan to use photographs to demonstrate your invention, they should be black and white but still clear and accurate.
Alternatively, you can file your application with a non-publication request, which means the invention won’t be made publicly accessible until after a patent has been issued. This can be especially advantageous for international applications if you plan on expanding outside of the United States.
Once you are ready to file the patent, you must pay both filing and examination fees. These can be paid online with your credit card, via postal or hand delivery to the USPTO.
2. Fill out the application.
Provisional patent applications are a cost-effective way to get your first patent in the United States. This option was established to give U.S. applicants parity with foreign applicants who file in another country before coming to the U.S., and allows for faster processing times for both parties.
You can complete a provisional application online by uploading the papers (written description and drawings), filing fee and cover sheet to the USPTO website via EFS-Web. Alternatively, you may send in your paper files by post.
The standard filing fee is $300, while small entities (those with no more than 500 employees) pay $150. Micro entities (those with four utility patents and a gross income not exceeding three times the median household income for the prior year) are charged $75.
Your application should contain a written description of the invention and sufficient drawings to explain it in detail. The specification should explain its function as well as provide a comprehensive breakdown of any process, method or technique employed in making it. You should also include alternative embodiments and provide a flowchart if applying for a software patent.
Additionally, your application should contain claims that outline the property rights you want to safeguard. These must specify limitations that limit and define the protection provided, depending on whether your invention is a process or product.
Before filing for patent protection, it is recommended that you conduct an exhaustive search for prior art. This means looking into similar inventions in previous patent applications, publications and sales.
Once you have done your due diligence and determined that your invention is indeed unique, you can proceed to filling out your application. Writing it doesn’t need to be a difficult process – most people find it easy enough for themselves.
Once your application is complete, you can pay the fee and submit it. You have two payment options: electronically or by check.
You can hire an attorney to assist with the entire process if desired. UpCounsel’s marketplace of qualified patent attorneys offers access to lawyers from top law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law with on average 14 years of legal experience.
3. Pay the fee.
Provisional patent applications are an economical and efficient way to get your invention recognized by the USPTO, but they cannot guarantee grant of full protection. To secure full protection from the USPTO, you must file a non-provisional application within 12 months after filing for one.
A PPA is often utilized by inventors who want to test the waters before hiring a Patent Attorney. Without having much money to spare, they may seek an easier and cheaper way to secure protection for their invention. However, keep in mind that a PPA does not ensure protection from infringement or other issues.
Therefore, it’s essential to prepare your provisional patent application thoroughly and accurately. Additionally, consulting a Patent Attorney or other trusted individual in your industry can help ensure the quality of your draft is impeccable.
Once you’re satisfied with your application, submit it electronically via the USPTO’s electronic filing system for a fast and effortless filing date.
You may submit your application via postal mail. Make sure all necessary paperwork is filled out correctly and the fee paid.
Once your application is submitted to the USPTO, they will provide an official receipt with your application number and filing date.
The official receipt will also display the USPTO’s logo. This indicates to people that your application has been filed with them and is currently pending review.
To pay your fee, you have two options: utilize the uspto’s online payment system or pay by credit card. Most major credit cards are accepted here, including American Express, Discover, Master Card and Visa.
If you choose to pay with credit card, the USPTO requires a written authorization from you in order to charge your card for any fees associated with processing. Once this consent has been obtained, they can charge your card accordingly.
Once payment is made, you’ll receive an electronic receipt containing the patent number and file date for your application. Alternatively, you can print out a copy of this receipt for record keeping purposes.
4. Submit the application.
A provisional patent application is the initial step to protecting your invention. This document identifies your invention and grants protection for one year until you file a nonprovisional patent application.
When drafting your provisional patent application, it is essential to fully describe the invention. Include drawings of the device and precise descriptions of how it functions – this will help guarantee that you receive the patent you deserve.
Additionally, it’s wise to emulate the style and form that other successful inventors have employed when drafting their provisional applications. You can do this by searching for high-quality patents and studying how those inventors have drafted their patent drawings.
Once you have all of the correct information, complete and submit the rest of the application to the USPTO. You can do this online using their website, or fill out a paper application and mail it in by post.
Filing a patent application online is free, however you will have to pay an administrative fee depending on your company’s size.
Once you have submitted your application and paid the fees, you can check the status of your provisional patent online. If approved, you will receive an official filing receipt from the USPTO with both your provisional patent application number and date of filing.
If your application has been denied, you can file a complaint on the USPTO website with the United States Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. This appeals process is straightforward and usually takes only a few days to complete.
Another way to guarantee you have included all pertinent details of your invention is by conducting a comprehensive prior art search. This will enable you to identify any other inventions which could potentially impact yours.
You may wish to enlist the aid of a lawyer for assistance with the patent application process. Many experienced patent attorneys can be found on UpCounsel, an exclusive legal marketplace that accepts only top-tier attorneys.