Starting a business can be a daunting yet exciting journey, especially when it includes the creation of a new invention or technology. While the idea of starting your own business can be intricate, the further process of applying for a patent can be equally as tricky. A provisional patent application offers a low-cost, provisional way of protecting your invention while you develop it. Below is a comprehensive list of the common questions and answers regarding provisional patent applications compiled to help you gain a better understanding of if, why, and how you should apply for a provisional patent.

What is a Provisional Patent Application?

A provisional patent application is an application that sets forth a disclosure of an invention yet does not receive an examination from the patent office. It is a great way of preserving the invention’s priority date. In other words, you cannot file a regular patent application until one year has passed from the date you file your provisional application.

What is the Advantage of a Provisional Patent Application?

The main advantage of filing a provisional patent application is that it grants its inventors a one-year timeline to convert it to a non-provisional patent application before it enters the public domain. During this period, the inventor can amend, refine, and modify the invention. It is also a great option for those on a tight budget, as filing a provisional patent application requires only a fraction of the cost of filing a non-provisional application.

Who Can File for a Provisional Patent?

Any individual, start-up, or existing business is eligible to file a provisional patent application in the United States. To be eligible to file the application, the inventor must be a U.S citizen, a U.S resident alien, or a foreign national. However, the applicant must meet other statutory criteria before being eligible to file a provisional application.

What do I Need to File a Provisional Patent Application?

Filing a provisional patent requires a more detailed description of the invention than that of a non-provisional application. It is important to have a disclosure document that is thorough and clear. You must disclose at least one embodiment, which should include enough information that someone skilled in the art would be able to apply it. An attorney may also be hired to communities have extensive experience with provisional patent applications and understand local regulations.

How Do I File a Provisional Patent Application?

Writing the provisional patent application is the most important component when it comes to filing a provisional patent application. It requires an understanding of the law and how to write properly. You may wish to have an attorney review the application to ensure it meets the criteria of the patent office. After the application is written, it needs to be filed with the USPTO. This is normally done electronically and is usually a straightforward process.

How Long Does a Provisional Patent Last?

A provisional patent lasts for one year from the date it is filed. After one year, it co-terminates and no longer offers any type of protection. All applications have to be filed within one year or they can become void. The inventor also needs to file a non-provisional patent application before the provisional patent expires, or all priority rights become void.

What Are the Fees for Filing a Provisional Patent Application?

The USPTO fees for filing a provisional patent application are much lower as compared to a non-provisional patent application. Additionally, if an inventor includes more pages to describe the invention, there may be extra fees. Hiring an attorney to draft the application may also require additional fees. Speak to an attorney to get an accurate estimate of the fees related to filing a provisional patent application.

Where Can I Find a Lawyer to Help with My Provisional Patent Application?

When filing for a provisional patent application, it is important to work with an experienced patent attorney. UpCounsel is an excellent source for matching attorneys to clients who need help filing provisional patent applications. The network of attorneys includes experienced lawyers who specialize in patents and have an extensive network throughout Los Angeles. UpCounsel enables businesses to access high quality legal services at an affordable rate.

By understanding the basics of provisional patent applications, you can be sure to make an informed decision when it comes to protecting your invention. Ensure you consider the answers to the above questions to give you a better understanding of whether a provisional patent is the right option for you. As much as filing a patent may seem confusing, it is essential for the preservation of one’s intellectual property rights. With consulting from experienced attorneys, you can rest easy knowing your interests are protected.


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