What Is a Free Provisional Patent Application?

Free provisional patent applications can be found online. A provisional patent application is a legal document filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that creates an early filing date for a patent, but it will not become an issued patent unless the applicant files a regular non-provisional patent application within one year.

Do a Patent Search On Your Own

It is possible to do an individual initial patent search at no cost by visiting the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s website at www.uspto.gov.

File a Patent Application On Your Own

Filing a patent application on your own is possible, but there is a much larger likelihood of errors if you decide to file the application on your own, so hiring an expert is always recommended.

Utility patents and provisional patent applications are very similar. However, a provisional patent application can be completed without submitting a set of claims or even formal drawings. The provisional patent application can be completed with hand-drawn images or professional photographs.

provisional patent application takes about 12 months to be reviewed and it is during this span that you will need to convert the provisional patent application into a utility patent application. A provisional patent application is not reviewed for patentability, it is simply an application to reserve your eventual utility patent for review.

The Patent Office then handles it very similarly to every other non-provisional application. To convert your provisional patent application to a utility patent requires submitting formal drawings outlining the unique elements of your idea, a set of claims, and any subsequent application submission fees.

What Are the Basic Steps in a Provisional Patent Application?

You may file for a patent to protect your invention from being copied. A provisional patent application features a cover sheet, a written description, and a sequence of drawings that describe, in detail, the construction of your invention and the way it operates. Many inventors favor filing the provisional patent application first, as it produces a submission date, giving them extra time to get the non-provisional patent finished.

When Should I File a Provisional Patent Application?

Your timing is important. If you file a provisional patent application too early, you'll prematurely begin your 12-month filing period. If you file your provisional application too late, you might lose some patent rights. A provisional application will expire after 12 months, therefore, to maintain your patent protection, be certain to set a reminder about 10 months after you file to both re-file a brand new provisional application or file a non-provisional patent application.

What Are Some of the Steps to Filing a Patent Application?

A patent declares unique rights to an invention or the development or enhancement of a current mechanical invention to one specific owner. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) controls and dictates all patents in the United States.

To acquire a patent is no simple matter. In fact, patent applications and subsequent patent protection can be cumbersome and expensive. There are certain situations in which the USPTO may waive patent application fees if you’re able to have your patent labeled as “special.”

Step One to Filing a Patent Application

Conducting a patent search is the first step in the application process. You’ll need to search the USPTO database of current patents to ensure your invention is not protected within another patent. If interested, you can physically visit the Public Search Facility in Alexandria, Virginia to conduct your patent search with their trained employees. Additionally, there are several Patent and Trademark Depository Libraries spread out across the country that you can also visit and conduct your patent search. Finally, you can access more help and contact information via the USPTO’s website.

Step Two to Filing a Patent Application

The next step in the process is to complete the important form for your patent. There are three forms available for a patent are:

  1. plant patent, which refers to a brand new asexual botanical
  2. design patent
  3. A utility patent

A utility patent is the most used patent. It protects mechanical innovations and processes. All utility types are published in PDF format. After you determine which type of patent that you want to file you’ll move to step three.

Step Three to Filing a Patent Application

The next step is to file a Petition to Make Special. If you are trying to submit a petition to make “special” you will need to send facts with a petition explaining why your idea and application should be giving unique consideration and have submission fees waived. You can find more information about special petitions and expedited examinations under MPEP 37 CFR 1.102 (a),(b), and (c). Essentially, your idea or invention must provide incremental value to the general public or federal government, or it must provide increased health benefits or other measurable benefits to the environment or public safety to be considered “special.”

You’ll then need to mail your patent and file an appeal if your Petition to Make Special is denied.

If you need help with a provisional patent application, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel’s marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Menlo Ventures and Airbnb.