Advice on Patents


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 Getting a Provisional Patent

What is a Provisional Patent?

Getting a Provisional Patent is a great way to save a considerable amount of money, while "testing the market waters". It provides a year of protection to determine if filing a Non Provisional Patent is a worthwhile endeavour.

Provisional Patent Applications

 As of June, 1995, the USPTO has offered as an option to the previously standard patent, which became known as a non provisional patent. The option is a provisional patent. Provisional, indicates that an inventor is filing record of an invention, and intends to file a non provisional patent within the allotted one year time frame. The purpose of such an option is to gain the protection of a patent at a reduced cost, which will allow the inventor to publicly market the invention, using the term patent pending.

The provisional patent is granted without review, meaning an inventor can operate without waiting for the patent review to grant or deny a patent.

This is a large benefit to the small inventor, as they can test out the marketplace at a much reduced cost. If during the one year period the inventor decides there is no market, the patent can be abandoned, and little financial resources lost, at least regarding the fees normally associated with the non provisional patent.

Another advantage to the provisional patent is the opportunity to file without having claims and drawings completed.  What is required and is quite important is a complete and thorough description of the invention, which will support the claims made in the later filed non provisional patent application. The non provisional patent application can expound upon the claims and drawings listed in the provisional patent, as these applications need not be identical.

This point is especially valuable to the individual who is on a limited budget and wishes to file the provisional patent themselves.  It is a relatively simple process, as the USPTO offers all the helps needed via their website.

The reduced cost of the provisional patent is further adjusted when filed by a small entity, such as an individual inventor.

Additionally, when the non provisional patent is applied for the date of filing becomes the starting point for the lifespan of the patent, effectively adding an extra year of patent benefits. The provisional patents becomes reference in the non provisional patent application, which ties the two filings together.

Note: This is a summary of the requirements of the USPTO, and is non inclusive of all requirements of same. It is advisable to study the actual requirement of the USPTO, or have competent help filing.

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 © Lee A. Jesberger - 2008

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