What Are Optional Elements Of A Provisional Patent?

  1. Claims

This is not required in a PPA but it is required in a utility patent application.  You should think about these because patent protection rest on what claims you are asserting in your application.  They lay the borders of what is protected by your patent. The USPTO sets guidelines about how these should be formatted.  

Because they are referenced in infringement suits, they should be crafted with care, be precise and understandable.  Frequently people who wish to design around your patent manipulate the language used in your application to interpret your claims in a narrow light to justify that they do not infringe. They also make variations to try to achieve the same objective by using a different approach to avoid your claims. Hence, make sure your patent application text is detailed and inclusive of possible variations to avoid attempts to bypass your idea.  But be careful not to make these variations necessary or required.


  1. Prototype

A prototype is not a USPTO requirement.  Because a PPA is relatively inexpensive, the inventor can describe reasonable ways to implement the invention on paper without prototyping. If enough details are disclosed, the PPA can become the basis of a valuable pioneering patent with the earliest possible priority date by avoiding prototyping delays.