In the age of innovation, businesses and entrepreneurs are constantly creating new products, designs, logo, and ideas to stay ahead of their competition or to fill a certain void in the market. This competition to hone in on an invention’s patentability provides for an interesting dilemma. How does one protect their potential invention before they have the funds to find an intellectual property lawyer and run extensive patent search?

The concept of provisional patent, often unique to U.S. patent law, provides inventors and entrepreneurs the opportunity to test the waters with their invention by protecting their desired intellectual property while they secure their patent. For inventors and entrepreneurs based in Texas, understanding the state’s provisional patent laws can be especially daunting without an experienced intellectual property lawyer.

The concept of a provisional patent was first introduced in the United States in 1995 and may offer significant time and cost savings to business owners, entrepreneurs, inventors, and independent researchers. The provisional patent is a unique first step to patentability and is especially lucrative to entrepreneurs without a deep-pocketed support system.

In this beginner’s guide, navigators through the provisional patent landscape in Texas will be able to understand the basic principles associated with provisional patenting, learn key best practices for provisional patent gambit, and finally to determine whether or not a provisional patent is ever the right choice for their unique invention.

What Is a Provisional Patent?

A provisional patent is an inexpensive, efficient route to protecting an invention while the patent application is pending, typically going the fullest extent of one year. This patent provides an inventor or an entrepreneur with a time-limited legal protection of their conception. What provisional patent does is quite simple, it gives the inventor some, albeit limited, legal foundation to build upon.

The provisional patent application is the quicker, more direct route to patentability, and as such often results in a patent application being preferred over a non-provisional patent. Once the patent is filed, the inventor is able to protect their desired intellectual property rights for one year. The applicant will also be able to get the “patent-pending” status, which implies that the invention is being examined by the USPTO and as such should not be duplicated or copied by a third-party without explicit permission and consent.

Why File a Provisional Patent in Texas?

Knowing the capabilities and limitations of registering a provisional patent is the key to understanding their effectiveness. Provisional patenting is typically suggested to startups with limited legal and financial resources, as this route allows for the greatest protection with the lowest execution cost.

Texas provisional patent law can be employed for inventions and technologies under development for the commercial market. What should be noted is with the filing of a provisional patent, the inventor will only be able to get up to a one year and one day extension before patentability must be addressed.

Entrepreneurs in Texas should also note that provisional patent applications lack in stringent requirements and can as such provide a need meeting resource for entrepreneurs and should be used carefully and under the review of an experienced intellectual property lawyer…

Key Steps for Seeking a Provisional Patent in Texas

Though there are a few exceptions, most inventions pertaining to products, processes, or design should also seek provisional patent protection. As noted before, the provisional patent, though effective and efficient, is not entirely without requirements. These requirements are not overly daunting as they often tie into routine activities entrepreneurs already practice, such as budgeting, market analysis, and so forth.

The following steps should be taken in pursuing a provisional patent in Texas.

Create a detailed description of your invention.

Gather evidence of your invention's conception and conception date.

Create professional drawings of your invention.

Create a provisional patent agreement.

File the provisional patent application.

Evaluate the invention’s commercial potential.

Perform commercialization market research.

Create and execute a market strategy.

Draft the non-provisional patent application.

It should be noted that filing the provisional patent application is only the first step in the process, and steps two to five should be responded to within nine to twelve months. Skipping these steps or providing irrelevant or inadequate evidence can lead to the Patent Office rejecting your provisional patent application.

What Next? Finding Counsel That Understands Local Regulation

Before seeking a provisional patent for your invention, make sure you know your rights and the law. Because the provisional patent application is the real bargaining chip during patenting, it is important to find an experienced intellectual property lawyer who knows the ins and outs of Texas provisional patent law. Local lawyers will be able to provide support in analyzing patentability, drafting the provisional patent application, and executing the patenting strategy.

For business owners and entrepreneurs in the Dallas area, there are several excellent law firms and experienced intellectual property attorneys that can provide assistance in provisional patenting. UpCounsel is a great resource for legal services, providing access to high-quality and cost-effective attorneys and legal services.


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