How to Submit Provisional Patent Applications
How to Submit Provisional Patent Applications
If you have an idea for a new invention but lack the time to file for a full utility patent application, a provisional patent could be just what you need. This type of patent gives exclusive rights to your invention for one year while you work on developing it and/or raising money.
What is a provisional patent?
Provisional patents are the initial step toward securing a US patent. They provide protection for an invention during the 12-month period before filing for formal patent protection, and allow inventors to experiment and perfect their concepts before investing in the time-consuming and costly process of filing for formal protection.
It is essential to remember that the USPTO will not examine a provisional application until there has been filed an accompanying non-provisional patent application. Therefore, if you fail to file your non-provisional patent application within one year of filing your provisional application, its filing date will be considered null and void.
Be certain that the provisional application you submit fully describes and protects your invention. Doing so will prevent it from being considered an incomplete patent application and your invention from being interpreted as an invalid combination of existing elements or steps.
Furthermore, include in your provisional patent application any drawings necessary for someone of ordinary skill in the art to comprehend your invention. Doing this will aid the USPTO in determining whether your innovation is novel enough to be patented.
If your invention is poorly described, a potential competitor could use this information against you as proof that the idea isn’t novel enough for patent protection. This could significantly hinder your ability to defend yourself and lead to costly litigation.
Another benefit of a provisional patent is that it gives inventors 12 months to experiment and perfect their ideas before investing in the costly and time-consuming process of filing for full patent protection. This extra time can be invaluable when your invention’s value is high at an early stage in its lifecycle, as it could make all the difference in terms of financial outcome.
When developing a medical device or when the market for your product is still developing, extra time may be beneficial. This extra time may allow you to secure additional funding or perform further testing on your invention before committing fully to the utility patent application process.
How to file a provisional patent application
Filing a provisional patent application can be done online through the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s (uspto) website or via mail. Once submitted, they will provide you with a receipt displaying both your filing date and official application number for your patent.
When preparing and filing a provisional patent application, it is essential to disclose your invention fully and in such a way that someone with extensive knowledge of the subject matter can make and use it. This necessitates providing an exact description of your invention along with any drawings necessary for understanding it.
A well-written provisional application will provide all the information about an invention you need to know in order to successfully market it. Doing this makes potential investors more inclined to loan you money for developing and commercializing your new creation.
However, a poorly written provisional patent application could cost you your rights! That is because the priority date of a provisional patent application only applies to claims included in a full patent application filed within one year from its filing date.
If you rely on the priority date of your provisional patent application to assert any claims in a later-filed full patent application, that priority date will be invalid and prevent you from securing any of your foreign or US patent rights!
This can occur for several reasons. A full patent application must include patent claims, which are the specific property lines that define what your issued patent covers.
Another important point is that a full patent application cannot extend past the one-year period covered by your provisional patent application. Therefore, if you disclosed your invention in your provisional, but then started selling or disclosing it more than a year prior to filing for a full patent application, then the entire patent could be nullified!
To avoid these issues, the ideal course of action is to directly file a full patent application rather than using provisional patents. Unfortunately, many inventors find this impossible due to other aspects of their business and lack the time or resources to devote towards an non-provisional patent application process.
What is the fee for filing a provisional patent application?
Since June 1995, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (uspto) has offered inventors the chance to file for a provisional patent. This type of application allows US applicants to save money while enjoying parity with foreign applicants. This makes it an attractive option for entrepreneurs who wish to get their invention patented but lack the resources or time necessary for full patent applications.
The cost of filing for a provisional patent depends on the unique aspects of your invention and what you plan to do with it once protected. As the fee for a provisional patent is significantly lower than for non-provisional patents, this makes for an economical way to test out the market before investing significant resources into filing for full patent protection.
However, a provisional patent only provides limited protection for your invention. To gain full patent rights, it must meet all the criteria of a full non-provisional patent. Therefore, it’s essential that you don’t simply file for a provisional patent to save money.
A full non-provisional patent provides a more thorough description of your invention than the provisional version does. It should include a title, background information about the invention, summary, detailed description, one or more claims and drawings. Furthermore, an oath or declaration is necessary in order to acquire this type of patent.
Non-provisional patents differ from provisionals in that they must wait for examination by a patent examiner before being issued as a patent. While the fees associated with non-provisional patents are higher than those for provisionals, you can be certain your idea will receive full protection once patented.
Another advantage of a non-provisional patent is that you can respond to any rejected claims during the free period provided after receiving a rejection letter from the USPTO. While this extra step could save you money in the long run, it adds some time to your patent prosecution process and could result in higher final costs.
How long does it take to file a provisional patent application?
When filing a provisional patent application, the time it takes to process depends on your filing strategy. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) publishes wait times on its website so you can see how long it takes for your invention to be issued as a patent. Unfortunately, the USPTO is divided into technology centers and art units; each with an ongoing backlog of applications for examiners to consider.
It may take some time for an examiner to accept or deny your application, leading to multiple rounds of submissions before the USPTO approves your patent. During this period, your patent attorney will respond to Office Actions and other inquiries raised by the examiner as they evaluate whether or not to grant your request.
Due to the USPTO’s first-to-file system, it is essential to submit your provisional patent application as soon as possible. Doing so ensures priority over the invention and increases your chances of receiving a granted patent.
Additionally, it is essential that you write your application clearly and comprehensively. Doing this will guarantee that your priority claim is valid, allowing the USPTO to expedite processing of your filing.
Finally, make sure to include any specifications for your invention, such as dimensions, shop drawings and other product details. These information will be utilized by the USPTO in assessing whether to grant priority and assign appropriate claim numbers.
In addition to your filing fee, make sure you include any necessary fees associated with preparation and filing of your provisional patent application. These charges typically range between $150-250.
While you can file your provisional patent application without legal assistance, many inventors opt to hire an attorney to prepare their application on their behalf. This ensures that your document is correctly written and the patent claims are accurate.
In general, filing for a provisional patent application is an effective way to safeguard your invention and allow for continued development of your concept. However, it should be remembered that such protection is limited and should not be mistaken for the equivalent of a utility patent.