1. Utility Patent Application Form
2. Provisional Patent Application
3. Pros & Cons of Provisional Utility Patents
4. Items of Consideration for Provisional Utility Patents

Utility Patent Application Form

A utility patent application form will need to be filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO)if you want your invention protected by a utility patent. Broadly speaking, a patent is an intellectual property right that is given to qualified new inventions. The invention itself must meet specific criteria, which includes being useful, novel, and non-obvious.

While you need not obtain an attorney to help you file your utility patent, many people and companies do in fact retain patent attorneys to represent them in the application process.

Utility patents are the most common type of patent, and are given to inventions that are usually pieces of machinery, processes, or compositions of matter. While utility patents are the most popular, there are two additional patents, including design and plant patents. Specifically, design patents protect the design and appearance of an invention. Plant patents, as the name implies, protect the invention of new plants.

Provisional Patent Application

A provisional patent application is filed to protect an inventor for a period of one year while he or she uses this time to expand upon the invention itself. Simply put, the provisional patent is a reservation that is very easily filed with the USPTO office, and indicates that your invention is ‘patent pending.’ All you need to do is file a provisional cover sheet and fee transmittal form. Both documents can be filed with the USPTO. While your invention is patent pending, you are protected as no one else can create, manufacture, or use your invention during this time. After the one-year period ends, you must file a non-provisional patent application if you wish to have formal protection over your invention.

Pros & Cons of Provisional Utility Patents


• Less expensive than filing a non-provisional utility patent.

• It takes a lot less time to file a provisional utility patent application than a non-provisional one.

• You can indicate that your invention is ‘patent pending’ as soon as you file the provisional patent application.

• The ‘patent pending’ status provides you with a period of one year to determine whether or not to pursue a non-provisional patent.

• If you feel as though your invention is not complete, having a provisional application will allow you to make changes and enhance your invention.


• A provisional patent does not fully protect an invention.

• The USPTO examination is delayed in the provisional patent, as there is generally no examination for provisional patents.

• Potential licensees do not generally enter into licensing agreements for provisional utility patents as opposed to non-provisional ones.

• Most foreign patents must be filed within the 12-month period. Therefore, if you have a foreign invention, and submit a provisional utility patent application, you must file a non-provisional application within the 12-month time period of ‘patent pending’ protection.

Items of Consideration for Provisional Utility Patents

• The provisional patent application must be filled out by either you or a professional, i.e. patent attorney or patent agent.

• If you have a complex utility-type invention, then it could be very helpful and beneficial to hire a licensed professional who can assist you in your application.

• While the provisional application itself is straightforward, if you intend to submit a non-provisional application after the one-year period, having an attorney will help.

• After you file the provisional application, you can immediately put your name on the invention before the provisional patent is approved.

• In the provisional application, you will provide details, also referred to as a specification, which gives greater detail on how to create and use your product. Also included will be illustrations of your invention.

• Once you submit the provisional application, you can’t modify your application unless the application itself isn’t in compliance with the USPTO requirements.

• You can’t file an information disclosure statement with your provisional application.

The most important thing to remember is that the provisional patent cannot be matured into an actual non-provisional patent. After the one-year period has expired on your provisional patent, you will need to file a non-provisional application to be considered for full patent protection. Even after you submit your non-provisional application, the USPTO examiners will still need to look at the invention itself and determine whether or not your invention meets the criteria for full patent protection.

If you need help with filing a utility patent application form, 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 come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.