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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
Melissa Green joined the American Medical Association (AMA) as an Assistant General Counsel in November 2019. In her role at the AMA, Melissa supports the CPT and Masterfile licensing programs, in addition to supporting the legal needs of the Professional Satisfaction and Practice Sustainability business unit. Prior to arriving at the AMA, Melissa was the Chief Legal Counsel and Privacy Officer at The Chartis Group, a healthcare advisory services and analytics company, headquartered in Chicago, where she was responsible for commercial transactions for Chartis and its wholly owned SaaS company, and also served as the organization’s privacy officer responsible for HIPAA compliance. Melissa started her legal career in Cincinnati, Ohio at the law firm of Frost Brown Todd where she served as an associate in the Corporate department doing healthcare transactions, securities, and general corporate work. In 2007, Melissa transitioned into her first in-house counsel role at GE Aviation. During her time at GE, she had many roles including supporting new engine sales transactions for the Europe/Middle East/Africa region, its Electric Power business located in Dayton, its Engine Services business (supporting the CF34 and CF6 engine lines), and compliance. Upon leaving GE, Melissa had a brief stint at MedStar in Virginia before accepting a full-time position at the University of Maryland Medical System in Baltimore, Maryland in July 2013. Originally from East Lansing, Michigan, Melissa received her bachelor’s graduate from Michigan State University’s – James Madison College and is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School.
Robert Jay H.
My Legal career hasfocused on representing businesses (corporations and limited liability companies) as general outside counsel. In this capacity, I have drafted a broad range of legal documents as well as analyzed proposed agreements drafted by the other party's attorney to the agreement for the pupose of determining the risks to which my client would be exposed. I maintained the client's minute book if no one in-house was available for that task. Additionally, if rquested, I served as a general advisor to the client's executive offers and to its Board of Directors.
Corporate counsel with years of in-house experience working with and reporting to board / executive-level and upper management, along with extensive regional / national law firm background in commercial transactions and contracts, complex commercial litigation, and employment matters. Skilled at executing corporate priorities, driving profitability by implementing goal-oriented processes to achieve revenue and productivity targets, and managing company litigation and outside counsel. Recognized for creating policies and practices to address ethical dilemmas and resolving misconduct.
T. Phillip B.
Attorney creating plans and strategies to help individuals create, build, protect and pass on wealth.
Keidi S. Carrington brings a wealth of legal knowledge and business experience in the financial services area with a particular focus on investment management. She is a former securities examiner at the United States Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) and Associate Counsel at State Street Bank & Trust and has consulted for various investment houses and private investment entities. Her work has included developing a mutual fund that invested in equity securities of listed real estate investment trusts (REITs) and other listed real estate companies; establishing private equity and hedge funds that help clients raise capital by preparing offering materials, negotiating with prospective investors, preparing partnership and LLC agreements and advising on and documenting management arrangements; advising on the establishment of Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs/Token Offerings) and counseling SEC registered and state investment advisers regarding organizational structure and compliance. Ms. Carrington is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University with a B.A. in International Relations. She earned her Juris Doctorate from New England Law | Boston and her LL.M. in Banking and Financial Law from Boston University School of Law. She is admitted to practice in Massachusetts and New York. Currently, her practice focuses on assisting start ups, small and mid size businesses with their legal needs in the areas of corporate and securities law.
Jim Slattery most recently served as General Counsel at Regional News Network, a large owner of broadcast television stations. Jim is an experienced attorney with broad-based expertise. He is a seasoned negotiator who has been involved in negotiations as complex as the Olympic Games. Jim spent 18 years as Vice President for Business and Legal Affairs at NBCUniversal. Previously, Jim worked in the media industry in various roles at All American Television. Jim’s success can be attributed to his ability to properly analyze data, manage projects, lead teams, develop creative solutions for complex problems, focus on strategically optimizing assets, manage/allocate risk and collaborate with divergent constituent groups to achieve objectives. Jim received a J.D. and a B.B.A. from the University of Notre Dame.
Retired Dentist transitioned to Law, with a special interest in Commercial Real Estate, Startup businesses, Asset Purchase Agreements, and Employment Contracts. I love to help dentists and physicians with legal issues pertaining to licensing, credentialing, employment, and general business-legal questions.