Provisional Patent Application

Provisional Patent Application

A Provisional Patent Application is a temporary application filed in the US patent office that is valid for only year after filing. The advantage of a provisional patent application is that it is much less costly than a non-provisional application, since it does not require any patent claims. Provisional patent applications also do not require a very detailed description of the invention, and only a few clear illustrations depicting the invention can be enough.

Provisional patent application provides a patent pending status right after it is filed.

A provisional patent application is recommended when

  • ​there is an Urgency;
  • a commercial disclosure;
  • submission of paper or a thesis;
  • inventors leaving the company;
  • an accidental disclosure, and
  • there are many competitors.

Provisional Patent Application Timeline

Provisional Patent

A provisional patent allows for establishing an early filing date. Once filed, this application allows inventors to immediately file for patent pending status making it known that the idea is protected.

Filing an Application

  • UIPatent will aid inventors through the process of filling out the application
  • UIPatent will complete the application to USPTO standards
  • UIPatent can provide a professional review of the provisional patent application by a USPTO registered agent

Provisional Patent

Provisional Patents allow for filing without formal patent claims. Once a provisional patent application is submitted, the inventor is allowed to display the “patent pending” status on their invention. Marking an invention with “Patent Pending” will usually deter manufacturers from copying an invention.  The inventor is then free to market and publicize the invention while having it legally protected. 

Provisional patents are also less time consuming since they do not require the claims that define your invention to be disclosed. A description of your invention along with a few clear illustrations depicting the invention can be enough.

Filing a provisional patent is also much less expensive than a full patent. Attorney and governmental fees are significantly less for provisional patents as they are less time consuming and are not reviewed by the governmental patent office.

Provisional patent application allows for establishing an early effective date for a later filed full patent application. Therefore an invention is protected from the filing of the provisional patent.

However, a provisional patent automatically expires after 12 months. It is important to file for a full patent prior to the expiration of those 12 months to continue having the patent rights for an invention. Not applying for a full patent after the 12 months expires the application is considered abandoned and in doing so the inventors loses any patent right to their invention.

Applying for a Provisional Patent

There are no official application forms for applying for a provisional patent. It is up to the inventor to fully describe their invention and outline its novelty and usefulness. Importantly, in order for the early filing date to be valid when applying for a full patent the invention must not be changed and all of its elements have to be disclosed in the provisional patent. Failure to disclose or adequately describe the elements in a provisional patent can harm the success of a full patent application. The most important part of the application may be the drawings of the invention since parts of the invention that are disclosed in the drawings and are not in the description may be adequate disclosure when filing for a later full patent.

Our website provides detailed questions and guides that will help in ensuring that a provisional patent application is as complete as possible. We can also prepare the drawings for your application for a minimal cost.

Provisional Patent Advantages

  • The invention can display “Patent Pending” status. Marking an invention with “Patent Pending” will usually deter manufacturers from copying your invention. The label lets the public know that the inventor has filed a patent claim and is waiting for the patent to be issued.
  • The inventor has 12 months to determine whether the invention can generate a profit before going through with a higher cost full patent application. If the inventor wants to “shop” their idea around and determine its marketability and profitability while having their invention protected a provisional patent is the ideal cost-effective solution.
  • If the inventor does decide to follow through with a full patent the early filing date of the provisional patent gives them priority over other subs later inventors with the same idea.
  • A provisional patent application is kept in confidence. Once filed with the USPTO the invention remains confidential for the 12 month period. However, it is important to sign non-disclosure agreements with attorneys or other services where the inventor discloses any part of their invention. While the USPTO will keep the contents of the application confidential it is up to the inventor to protect their invention when dealing with other organizations and services.