Provisional Patent

Should You Start With a Provisional Patent Filing?

Patent Pending status is guaranteed to all Provisional Patent Applicants.

Upon filing, you can claim that your products, ideas, and innovations are “Patent Pending”.

Once you file, you have priority to your idea – even if later applicants can prove that they conceived of the idea before you.

A Provisional Application is a great option if you have not fully developed your concept yet, or if you simply want “Patent Pending” status for securing investors or to place in marketing materials.

There Is No Extension

There is no extension to a Provisional Application. You must convert it to a full, Non-Provisional application within 12 months, or you will lose the benefit of your priority date (and maybe even your rights altogether).

The Risks of Disclosure

If you disclose your innovation to the public before you file a U.S. Provisional Application, you automatically lose your patent rights internationally.

Lack of Publicity and the Limited Role of the USPTO

A Provisional Application is never made public. The USPTO does not examine the contents of Provisional Applications, and only makes sure that they comply with formalities.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The inventor entitled to a patent would be the first inventor to file a patent application. This is known as the First-Inventor-to-File patent system that the U.S. adopted in March of 2013. The only way that the earlier inventor can restore his/her patent priority to the invention in this scenario is if the earlier inventor can prove that the first-filing inventor derived the invention from the earlier inventor’s public disclosure.

A Provisional Application for patent may be filed anytime after your invention is created – once you are able to coherently describe how to make and use it. It is recommended that you file a Provisional Application before you publicly disclose your invention. In this way, you can publicly disclose your invention and put the public on notice that your invention has “Patent Pending” status.

A Provisional Application for patent is the most cost-effective way to begin protecting your invention. It establishes your priority to the patent rights for your invention while you put the finishing touches on it, work up your Non-Provisional Patent Application, and seek funding and do market research.

With a Provisional Application on file, you can feel safe promoting your invention. Having a Provisional Application on file also means that you can disclose your invention with everyone on notice that your invention is “Patent Pending.” Best of all, Provisional Applications are not published or disclosed by the USPTO, so your invention’s secrecy is never compromised.

Patent Resources

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Are Figures or Drawings Required for a Provisional Patent?

Figures or drawings are not always required for a provisional patent. However, if figures or drawings are necessary for a person of ordinary skill in the field of your invention to understand your invention, then they are required for a provisional patent. 

Who Can Be Considered an Inventor on My Patent Application?

In general, it’s good practice to list everyone that has made a contribution to a substantive or significant portion of the invention as an inventor. Legally, an inventor is anyone who has contributed to the conception of what is claimed as the invention you wish to protect.