How To File For A Provisional Patent

If you have a brilliant idea for a new invention, you may want to protect it from being copied or stolen by others.

But applying for a regular patent can be a long, complex, and expensive process.

That’s why many inventors choose to file for a provisional patent first.

A provisional patent is a simple and low-cost way to secure your priority date and claim the “patent pending” status for your invention.

In this article, I will explain what a provisional patent is, what are its benefits and disadvantages, and how to file for one in 2024. Let’s get started.

How To File For A Provisional PatentCourtesy:Booth uddall fuller
How To File For A Provisional Patent
Courtesy:Booth uddall fuller

What is a Provisional Patent?

A provisional patent is a legal document that you can file with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to establish an early filing date for your invention.

It is not a full patent, but rather a placeholder that gives you 12 months to decide whether you want to pursue a nonprovisional patent or not.

A provisional patent does not require a formal patent claim, an oath or declaration, or an information disclosure statement.

It also does not undergo examination by the USPTO.

All you need to do is to provide a written description and drawings of your invention, pay a filing fee, and submit a cover sheet.

You can file a provisional patent online using the Patent Center or by mail.

What are the Benefits and Disadvantages of a Provisional Patent?

The main benefit of a provisional patent is that it allows you to secure your position as the “first to file” for your invention.

This means that if someone else files a patent application for the same or a similar invention after you, you will have the priority right to obtain a patent.

A provisional patent also lets you use the term “patent pending” to describe your invention, which can deter potential infringers and attract investors or customers.

Moreover, a provisional patent is simpler and cheaper to prepare and file than a nonprovisional patent.

You don’t need to write a patent claim, which defines the scope of your invention and its legal protection.

You also don’t need to hire a patent attorney, although it is advisable to consult one before filing.

The filing fee for a provisional patent ranges from $75 to $300, depending on your entity status.

The main disadvantage of a provisional patent is that it does not grant you any patent rights.

It is only a temporary measure that expires after 12 months.

If you want to obtain a patent for your invention, you must file a nonprovisional patent application within that period, or else you will lose the benefit of your provisional patent.

Filing a nonprovisional patent application is more complicated and costly than filing a provisional patent.

You will need to write a patent claim, an oath or declaration, and an information disclosure statement.

You will also need to pay a higher filing fee, which can range from $430 to $1,720, depending on your entity status.

Additionally, your nonprovisional patent application will be examined by the USPTO, which can take several years and may result in rejections or objections.

How to File for a Provisional Patent?

If you decide to file for a provisional patent, here are the steps you need to follow:

  1. Make sure your invention is eligible and unique. A provisional patent can only be filed for utility and plant inventions, not for design inventions. You also need to check if your invention is novel, useful, and non-obvious, which are the basic requirements for patentability. You can do this by conducting a patent search on the USPTO website or using other online tools. You should also avoid disclosing your invention to the public before filing, as this may affect your patent rights.
  2. Prepare your provisional patent application. Your provisional patent application should include a title, an abstract, a detailed description, and drawings of your invention. The title should be clear and concise, and reflect the essence of your invention. The abstract should be a brief summary of your invention, no more than 150 words.
  3. Submit your provisional patent application. You can submit your provisional patent application online using the Patent Center or by mail. To use the Patent Center, you need to register as an unregistered filer or a registered filer. An unregistered filer can only submit one provisional patent application at a time, while a registered filer can submit multiple applications and access other features. To register, you need to create a USPTO.gov account and verify your identity.

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