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What is a Provisional Patent Application?
A provisional patent application is a legal document that allows an inventor to file for patents without a formal patent application. Provisional patent applications give the filer a year to determine whether their invention will make enough money to justify securing a patent on their intellectual property. A patent can reserve an invention’s size, design, or impression solely for the use of the inventor.
How to File a Provisional Patent Application?
Filing a provisional patent application is a vital first step to protecting an inventor’s intellectual property. This is important because without a patent application, certain aspects of a product such as the size, design, or expression is free game for others to use freely and profit off of. Intellectual property lawyers can assist with filing provisional patent applications and are well-versed in the procedures to filing.
The easiest way to file a provisional patent application is by following a simple six-step process:
Step One: Research Your Invention
The first step in filing a provisional patent application is verifying the exclusivity of your invention. If someone else has already came up with the same idea or if the idea is too obvious, submitting a provisional patent application could be a waste of time. Make sure to do your research in ensuring that your invention is new and unique before moving forward.
A great way to make sure your invention fits the requirements for a provisional patent application is to perform a patent search. This can be done at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) or the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) website, where you can perform a claims patent search using a variety of keywords to accurately vet your invention.
Step Two: Gather Patent Information
A provisional patent application should include plenty of product-specific information about the item you wish to patent. To prepare for the next steps, you will need to compile as much information as you can about your product. Here are a few pieces of information you will need to compile and organize:
- Invention status
- Intended use
Step Three: Write a Coversheet
The coversheet is a vital piece of any provisional patent application. Coversheets are required with each application and should include all of the following:
- Names of all involved inventors
- Inventors’ addresses
- Name of invention
- Name and credentials for attorney or agent and any applicable docket numbers
- Correspondence address
- If a government agency has interest in an invention, that must be disclosed here
Step Four: Prepare a Product Description
An accurate product description is another important part of the provisional patent application. Make sure to include specification information such as the product’s dimensions. Any shop drawings, abstracts, or schematics should also be enclosed in this portion of the application. It is vital that the product description is as detailed and specific as possible, so make sure to include all applicable product details.
Step Five: Review and Edit
Take a moment to review your application, paying special attention to any spelling or grammatical errors. This is also a great time to review any notes or outlines you used to prepare your application and make sure all the information you have on your product is included in the provisional patent application.
Step Six: Submit Application
When submitting your provisional patent application to the USPTO, you should ensure you have the means to file a formal patent application within 12 months of filing your provisional application. Keep in mind that provisional patent applications cannot be renewed or extended, so timing is everything. When submitting the application, you can expect to pay anywhere from $65-$280 in filing fees .
Once your application is submitted, you can begin selling, marketing, and even further developing your invention immediately. Applications can be submitted digitally by facsimile or email, in person, or via mail.
Get more details about how to file a provisional patent application here .
Costs of Provisional Patent Applications
Provisional patent applications are attractive to inventors because they are much less costly that traditional patent applications. Patent lawyers can make the process smoother, but they are not always needed to draft a good application. In fact, many inventors opt to create their own applications to save capital for marketing, product development, or even formal patent applications and legal fees.
Here are a few costs that applicants should plan for when drafting a provisional patent application:
- Filing fees
- Lawyer fees (if applicable)
- Time spent doing research
Get more information about provisional patent applications here .
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Benefits of Provisional Patent Applications
Provisional patent applications provide specific benefits to inventors. They are valuable for their protection against others stealing inventors’ work. Additionally, they pave the way to filing a legally-binding patent within 12 months of the provisional filing date. Ultimately, provisional patent applications were created specifically for the benefit of inventors.
Here are some of the main benefits to filing a provisional patent application:
- Product Protection: By filing a provisional patent application, applicants can protect themselves from losing money in the event that another manufacturer or inventor attempts to make a similar product. When it comes to marketing a new item, getting to the market first is essential to the success of many, so provisional patent applications are a great option.
- Reduced Cost: Provisional patent applications are well-known for their low cost when compared to traditional patent applications. They are simple enough to construct alone, which eliminates the need to pay costly lawyer fees. The filing fees are also affordable, ranging anywhere from $65-$280 each.
- Patent Pending: Perhaps the most sought-after benefit of submitting a provisional patent application is the ability to use the term “patent-pending” for a product. A product stamped with this term is likely to have better market performance since its legitimacy is backed up by a patent.
- Time to Develop: Since inventors are given twelve months between the time a provisional patent application is filed before they must submit a nonprovisional patent application, inventors have more time to develop their product before filing for a traditional patent. This time can be used for marketing, fundraising, or even more fully developing products.
- First to Market: Any time a new product comes out, the first item or brand to hit the market usually does the best in terms of profit and likeability. When inventors file for a provisional patent, they are protecting their right to go to the market with their item first. This gives their products a better chance of being successful and profitable.
- Investors: A well-written provisional patent application tells you everything you need to know about a new product. This can make investors more comfortable with giving their capital out to invest in new companies.
Find out more about the benefits of filing a provisional patent application by reading this article .
Get Help with a Provisional Patent Application
Are you ready to file a provisional patent application and need help from a professional to complete the process? Post a project on ContractsCounsel today to connect with trademark lawyers who specialize in provisional patent applications.
Meet some of our Provisional Patent Application Lawyers
Sammy Naji focuses his practice on assisting startups and small businesses in their transactional and litigation needs. Prior to becoming a lawyer, Sammy worked on Middle East diplomacy at the United Nations. He has successfully obtained results for clients in breach of contract, securities fraud, common-law fraud, negligence, and commercial lease litigation matters. Sammy also counsels clients on commercial real estate sales, commercial lease negotiations, investments, business acquisitions, non-profit formation, intellectual property agreements, trademarks, and partnership agreements.
Brad is a business attorney with experience helping startup and growing companies in a variety of industries. He has served as general counsel for innovative companies and has developed a broad knowledge base that allows for a complete understanding of business needs.
I am an attorney located in Denver, Colorado with 13 years of experience working with individuals and businesses of all sizes. My primary areas of practice are general corporate/business law, real estate, commercial transactions and agreements, and M&A. I strive to provide exceptional representation at a reasonable price.
Chris Sawan is a JD/CPA who practices in the area of business law, contracts and franchising in the State of Ohio.
As an experienced contracts professional, I offer an affordable method to have your contracts reviewed! With my review of your contract, you can understand and reduce risks, negotiate better terms, and be your own advocate. I am an Attorney, Board Member, and Freelance Writer with a Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, in Film, Television and Theatre (“FTT”) from The University of Notre Dame. I was awarded The Catherine Hicks Award for outstanding work in FTT as voted on by the faculty. I graduated, cum laude, from Quinnipiac University School of Law, where I earned several awards for academics and for my work in the Mock Trial and Moot Court Honor Societies. Additionally, in my career, I have had much success as an in-house Corporate Attorney with a broad range of generalist experience and experience in handling a wide variety of legal matters of moderate to high exposure and complexity. My main focus in my legal career has been contract drafting, review, and negotiation. I also have a background in real estate, hospitality, sales, and sports and entertainment, among other things.
Elizabeth is an experienced attorney with a demonstrated history of handling transactional legal matters for a wide range of small businesses and entrepreneurs, with a distinct understanding of dental and medical practices. Elizabeth also earned a BBA in Accounting, giving her unique perspective about the financial considerations her clients encounter regularly while navigating the legal and business environments. Elizabeth is highly responsive, personable and has great attention to detail. She is also fluent in Spanish.
Abby is an attorney and public policy specialist who has fused together her experience as an advocate, education in economics and public health, and passion for working with animals to create healthier communities for people and animals alike. At Opening Doors PLLC, she helps housing providers ensure the integrity of animal accommodation requests, comply with fair housing requirements, and implement safer pet policies. Abby also assists residents with their pet-related housing problems and works with community stakeholders to increase housing stability in underserved communities. She is a nationally-recognized expert in animal accommodation laws and her work has been featured in The Washington Post, USA Today, Bloomberg, and Cosmopolitan magazine.