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I receive a lot of queries regarding provisional patent applications from inventors and business owners. In specific circumstances, and only when done correctly, I advocate filing a provisional patent application.

 ABCs of Provisional Patents

Provisionals are not scrutinised

The first thing to understand is that the Patent Office never examines a provisional application. As a result, a provisional patent could never be awarded. For the application to be evaluated, you must eventually submit a non-provisional application (and then allowed).

Before submitting a provisional patent application, I always suggest doing a thorough patentability search and getting an attorney’s advice on the likelihood that your innovation will be authorised in the end.
The term “provisional” refers to the fact that you only have 12 months to submit a non-provisional patent application. If you miss this deadline, your innovation will be discarded. There are no exceptions. As a result, if an inventor has the cash and the invention is complete, filing a non-provisional first may be the superior option.

Provisionals are less expensive and have fewer restrictions.

The key advantage of submitting a provisional is that it has fewer criteria and is less expensive. For example, if you qualify as a micro business, the provisional filing price is presently under $65.

A provisional patent permits you to promote your idea without worry of losing future patent rights. Someone taking an inventor’s innovative concept and submitting it at the patent office is the last thing an innovator wants.
A priority filing date will be awarded to a provisional application that correctly states an invention. Because the United States is a first-to-file country, the filing date is critical in demonstrating priority over previous art that might defeat your claims.

Provisionals are useful when there are still improvements to be made.

Provisional applications are also beneficial when you need to make changes to the innovation you’re working on. When you submit your non-provisional patent application, you may file subsequent provisional applications for any enhancements and merge numerous provisional patent applications filed within the prior 12 months. You may also include any fresh developments in the non-provisional.

Do it right the first time – a bad provisional is a waste of time and money.

A bad temporary application, on the other hand, is a total waste of money. To achieve a filing date, the provisional application must fulfil all patentability conditions.
What exactly does this mean? The invention’s specification must meet the disclosure requirements of 35 U.S.C. 112 as of the day it is filed. The provisional application must contain, in addition to the specifications, any drawings required to comprehend the invention, the names of all inventors, the appropriate filing fee, and a cover page that identifies the invention. While not required, I strongly advise include at least one base claim in the provisional application to specifically establish some form of scope.