How to File a Provisional Patent Application
A provisional patent application is an economical way to safeguard a new invention. It gives inventors 12 months to develop their concept, assess the product’s commercial viability, or perfect their design.
Provisional patents don’t need to be examined by the USPTO during this period, saving inventors valuable time and money in the long run.
What is a provisional patent?
A provisional patent is a temporary measure that inventors can use to establish a US filing date for their inventions before filing for a utility patent application. Furthermore, this type of patent helps prevent competitors from claiming similar inventions at an earlier stage.
A patent is a crucial legal document that safeguards the rights of an inventor or company to make, use or sell their invention. Unfortunately, patenting your idea carries risks; thus it’s best to consult an experienced patent attorney before filing for one.
One of the most critical requirements for a provisional patent application is that it must fully describe your invention. The USPTO suggests including both an oral description of your creation and any drawings necessary for understanding it.
Additionally, you must include all inventors in your provisional application. Doing this ensures the USPTO knows who you are and that all necessary documents are filed along with your application.
Another essential note to bear in mind is the 12-month pendency of a provisional patent application. If you do not convert the provisional application into a non-provisional patent application within these twelve months, unfortunately your idea could be lost forever.
Therefore, it is critical that your provisional patent application be carefully and completely written. A poorly constructed provisional patent application could severely hinder enforcement of your valid patent against infringers, may even result in disqualification if submitted too late.
Though it may be tempting to save money by preparing and filing your own provisional patent application, be wary. A poorly written provisional patent application could significantly impact your chances of receiving a valid patent, necessitating you to spend considerable amounts of time and resources resolving legal disputes that could have been prevented with properly prepared provisions.
How do I file a provisional patent?
Filing a patent can be an intricate process. If you don’t know where to begin, hiring an attorney who specializes in this area is recommended. Here are some things to keep in mind as you prepare to file your provisional patent application:
First, guarantee you own exclusive rights to your invention. Searching online patents for similar products can help guarantee that your creation stands alone.
Consider getting a patent lawyer to review your proposed provisional patent application before you file it. They can give advice on whether or not the idea is viable and how best to safeguard your invention.
Once you have a comprehensive understanding of your invention and the steps necessary for patent protection, it’s time to begin preparing the application. Start by filling out USPTO Form SB-16 which includes the names of inventors, the title of your invention, contact information for correspondence, as well as a disclosure section that must be filled out and signed before submission.
Your invention should be described as clearly and precisely as possible, so that someone with ordinary technical ability could make and use it. Include any drawings that are necessary for understanding your invention.
Once your application is ready, submit it either online or by post. A provisional patent application filing fee of $65 must be paid before your application can be accepted by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
For assistance with your provisional patent application, reach out to a trademark attorney who specializes in this type of legal service. You can post a project on ContractsCounsel today to find a firm willing to take on your case.
Filing a provisional patent application has the primary benefit of granting you priority date for your invention without sacrificing any of your rights as an inventor. This gives you time to experiment with and perfect the invention before investing both time and money in filing for non-provisional patent protection. Having more time on hand will allow for faster progress on the project while preventing any issues from arising down the line.
What is the cost of filing a provisional patent?
The cost to file a provisional patent application varies based on the technology involved and how complex your invention is. On average, it costs less than half of what one would pay for a standard patent.
Many inventors opt to file a provisional patent as an experiment before proceeding with nonprovisional filing. Doing so allows them to get an idea of how the market will accept their concept without investing too much money up front.
Another crucial element in the cost of a provisional patent application is the number of prior art innovations that need to be reviewed. This can influence how much work a patent lawyer needs to do during preparation, leading to higher fees.
If you need to evaluate a large body of prior art, it may be beneficial to hire an attorney who specializes in this process. Doing so will guarantee that your claims are accurate and don’t infringe upon anyone else’s intellectual property rights.
Knowing the costs associated with pursuing a patent can help you decide if now is the right time. A qualified lawyer can give you an estimate for what your total expenses will be, as well as any other necessary information so that you can make an informed decision about whether or not to proceed with filing for one.
Provisional patent applications tend to have a cost around 80% less than standard patent applications, however you should still be aware that they require much more information than normal applications do. This includes outlining your system architecture, algorithms, routines and sub-routines in great detail.
Additionally, there are additional costs to consider such as a filing fee and examination fee. These fees must be paid to the US Patent and Trademark Office in order for them to review your application and determine if it qualifies for patent protection.
In addition to these fees, there are maintenance fees and post-filing fees required by the USPTO at year 3.5, 7.5, and 11.5 of your patent’s lifespan. These costs typically range from $800 to $1,800 and constitute a significant part of obtaining a patent.
How long does it take to file a provisional patent?
As a first-time inventor, it is critical to file your provisional patent application as soon as possible. In the United States, there is a “first-to-file” system; so, the earlier you submit your patent application, the greater your chances of receiving protection under this system.
However, the timing for filing a provisional patent application can vary based on several factors. On average, it takes an attorney between two and four weeks to draft one; this depends on their workload, the complexity of your invention, and what information you provide them with.
The attorney must also conduct a basic prior art search, which involves discovering patented works that are similar to your invention. This process may take anywhere from one to three weeks depending on the size and number of documents needing analysis.
Once the attorney has conducted their prior art search, they must draft a provisional patent application. Typically, this process takes one to two weeks; however, it may take longer or shorter depending on the attorney’s caseload and how complex the invention is.
Once the draft of your provisional patent application is ready, it will be submitted to the USPTO for processing and assignment of a priority date – an important factor in determining whether or not you receive patent protection for your invention.
Priority dates can be extremely advantageous, as they grant you the advantage of a speedy and cost-effective patent prosecution process. Furthermore, it gives additional time for market testing your invention to determine whether or not pursuing patent protection for it makes financial sense.
Another benefit of filing a provisional patent application is the low government filing fee. This fee, which is based on an inventor’s income, was created to motivate first-time patent filers to file such an application.