Provisional Patent Applications

Need To File a Provisional Patent Application?


Provisional Patent Application FAQs

What is a provisional patent application?

 Filing a provisional patent application (PPA) is a simpler and less expensive method for an inventor to establish a U.S. filing date for their invention, as opposed to filing a non-provisional patent application.

Am I required to file a provisional patent application in order to patent my invention?

No, filing a provisional patent application is a strictly optional step that is done before filing a non-provisional patent application.

May an inventor claim patent pending status after filing a provisional patent application?

An inventor may claim patent pending status for up to one year during the time a provisional patent application. If a nonprovisional patent application is filed that claims benefit of the provisional patent application, patent pending status will continue.

Why should an inventor file a provisional patent application?

Filing a provisional patent application is typically the easiest and least expensive method to quickly obtain a filing date for you invention and to obtain patent pending status.

By filing a provisional patent application and obtaining a filing date, the inventor protects their patenting rights from a later filed patent application (unless the inventor of the later filed patent application can prove that he conceived the invention first, and the first-to-file inventor derived it from him).

 After filing the PPA, the inventor then has an opportunity to manufacture, sell, or assess the marketability of their invention for one year while protecting their patenting rights.

Does the filing of a provisional patent application provide the inventor any patenting rights before a patent is granted?

No. Before a patent is granted, claiming patent pending status does not provide an inventor any patenting rights such as the right to exclude others from making, using or selling their invention. However, it will hopefully deter others from copying, building and testing the invention.

Can a provisional patent application result in a patent being issued?

The provisional application process is simpler and less expensive than a non-provisional patent application process, but by itself cannot issue into a patent.

A provisional patent application is not examined by the USPTO and cannot issue into a patent by itself.

After filing a provisional patent application, how may an inventor obtain an actual patent on their invention?

To obtain an actual patent on their invention, the inventor must, before the one year provisional application time period has expired, file a non-provisional patent application containing a reference to the previously filed provisional application.

What happens if a nonprovisional patent application is not filed within one year after the provisional application is filed?

If a non-provisional patent application is not filed within the one year time period of the provisional application, the PPA will go abandoned and the inventor cannot later claim the filing date of the provisional application.

What are the requirements for a provisional patent application?

Although a provisional patent application is not examined in the USPTO, it is still critical that the PPA fully discloses how to make and use the invention. Otherwise it is possible that a later filed non-provisional application could be denied benefit of the filing date of the provisional application.

A well written provisional patent application will resemble closely a nonprovisional patent application, except that the provisional patent application will not contain a full claim set. 

How Much Does a Patent Cost?

A patent on your invention can constitute a highly valuable legal instrument. However, obtaining a valid patent on your invention does involve significant costs over a period of several years.

The costs involved in patenting your invention can vary significantly and are almost impossible to accurately predict.

The initial costs to file your provisional patent application typically consist of professional fees for preparing your patent application, graphics fees if you hire a firm to prepare your patent drawings, plus the USPTO filing fees.

Assuming you file a non-provisional patent application at some point, during a patent prosecution period of several years there are additional professional fees and USPTO fees involved. If you are granted a patent on your invention, there are also USPTO fees required for the patent to issue.

Why You Should Avoid Cheap Patent Applications or Inexpensive Patent Applications

Although provisional patent applications are not examined by the USPTO, they still must be drafted carefully and must contain a full disclosure of the invention so that if and when the inventor decides to file a non-provisional patent application, he/she will be able to claim priority to the previously filed provisional application.

We do not cut corners while preparing your provisional or non-provisional patent applications.

Our provisional patent applications are as complete as possible and closely resemble nonprovisional patent applications. An inventor should avoid the temptation of filing a low cost, poorly prepared provisional patent application. Otherwise the inventor may risk losing the benefit of the provisional application filing date.

Our provisional patent applications will normally include one patent claim. The claim is not required by the USPTO, but may be useful if any foreign patent applications are filed.

Optional Patent Search

Published US nonprovisional patent applications and US patents may be searched. We are not aware of any method to search provisional patent applications.

A patent search is not required before filing a USPTO patent application, but it may be advisable in many cases so as to avoid unnecessary patenting expenses. You may perform your own patent search if you prefer, or else for an extra fee we can perform a US Patent Search for you that will include a patentability opinion.

A patentability search cannot determine whether or not you will receive a patent on your invention, but it can provide you an assessment as to the difficulty you might encounter to obtain a patent on your invention.

Please see the “Patent Searches” menu item for further details.

Obtain a Free No-Obligation Telephone Consultation with a Registered Patent Agent

As a registered patent agent, I can provide you the same patent prosecution services as a patent attorney, patent lawyer, or patent law firm within the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, but usually at a much more affordable cost.

Please Note: Our telephone consultations do not involve a “sales pitch”. We cannot tell you if you can receive a patent on your invention. Patentability of your invention can only be determined by the USPTO after you have filed a non-provisional patent application. Also, we cannot quote you any fixed fees to prepare your patent application until we have first examined your full invention disclosure. Fixed Fees are not available for all inventions.

You may obtain a free telephone consultation by contacting us at the phone number below, or else by filling out the contact form on the right side of the page. When using the form, please make sure to include your correct email address. We will not give out your email address or send you spam.

During your free telephone consultation we will review with you issues affecting patentability of inventions, the USPTO patenting process, and some possible options you may want to consider for patenting your invention.

Phone: (862) 290-3470

Email: infoaccupatentscom

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