A unique feature of U.S. patent law is the provisional patent application, which allows an inventor to secure a filing date by filing an incomplete preliminary application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This filing date can later be used in a priority claim in a regular, non-provisional patent application. A provisional patent application can therefore be a useful strategy if you want to patent your invention.
Even though provisional patent applications are only available in the United States, priority derived from these applications can be claimed in conjunction with a regular patent application that is submitted to any number of patent offices worldwide. This is something that is very important to keep in mind. A Canadian applicant may, for instance, benefit from the filing date of a U.S. provisional application when submitting a regular, non-provisional application. If the subject matter disclosed in the United States provisional was also disclosed in the application and if country-specific requirements for priority claims are satisfied, the application will have a filing date that is comparable to that of the United States provisional. We’ll go over the significance of filing dates below.
A provisional patent application is most frequently used when a proposed invention is still in its infancy. When you submit a standard, non-provisional patent application, you are only permitted to describe the proposed invention in its current form. That application cannot contain any new information. However, during the formalization phase of a provisional patent application, a proposed invention can be improved prior to its filing as a regular, non-provisional patent application.
However, keep in mind that any new information included in the regular, non-provisional patent application that was not disclosed in the provisional application will not be subject to the filing date of the provisional application. The filing dates for various aspects of your invention may change in this situation. How this affects the candidate is that the patentability necessities of curiosity, non-conspicuousness and utility will be surveyed comparative with at least two particular moments. In order to guarantee the earliest possible filing dates, some applicants submit multiple provisional applications before submitting a non-provisional application. The regular non-provisional application may then claim priority over all of these if it is filed within one year of the first provisional application.
When compared to filing a standard, non-temporary patent application, filing a temporary patent application is advantageous because it does not prevent you from adding new information, such as improvements to your proposed creation, which are inevitable during the development phase of a novel device, machine, cycle, method, or framework.
In order to defer some of the costs associated with preparing and submitting a regular, non-provisional patent application, an inventor may also choose to submit a provisional patent application. A provisional patent application is frequently referred to as an “incomplete” patent application because it has fewer formal requirements than a regular, non-provisional patent application. If there are fewer formal requirements, preparing the necessary materials takes less time and money. Provisional patent applications typically resemble non-provisional patent applications in some way as a result.
Because it will, in some instances, be substantially similar to a non-provisional application, a provisional patent application will typically require less work to formalize in the future. In other instances, a provisional patent application may contain nothing more than an existing scientific publication that describes the invention, for instance. Formalizing this application would require significantly more effort when the time comes. Even though provisional patent applications don’t have as many formal requirements, it’s still very important to get them right. Under-disclosing your invention in your provisional application may prevent you from later claiming that earlier filing date. Consequently, a meticulous preparation of a provisional patent application is required. In order to navigate the various legal requirements, applicants should think about consulting a skilled patent attorney.
Because there are fewer requirements to meet and preparation is simpler, this typically results in cost savings, lowering the cost of preparing and filing a provisional patent application. Also, if an investor decides to change a provisional patent application into a regular, non-provisional one, some of the work will already be done. As a result, costs for non-provisional patents are typically divided between the provisional and non-provisional patent application stages. The second stage, which involves preparing the corresponding regular, non-provisional patent application, may take up to a year after the provisional patent application stage. The application fee for a standard, non-provisional patent application is typically paid in full and upfront when filing. The complexity of the subject will typically determine the application’s cost.A more in-depth specification may be required for a less technically complex invention than for a more technically complex invention in an application.
Additionally, the fact that a provisional patent application is kept secret and never examined by the U.S. Patent Office may save money.In order to respond to objections raised by the examining patent office, such as the USPTO, during the examination phase of a regular, non-provisional application, significant investment is typically required. As a result, filing a provisional patent application enables you to postpone the costs associated with examination. The USPTO protects the confidentiality of provisional patent applications in contrast to regular, non-provisional patent applications. You can continue to refile the provisional application and obtain an updated priority filing date until you are ready to proceed with a regular, non-provisional patent application as long as you or anyone else has not disclosed your proposed invention. A provisional application’s priority filing date is only valid for a period of twelve months after it is filed.
Another advantage of submitting a provisional patent application is that, despite the possibility that the proposed invention has not yet been fully developed, it is given a filing date. Because it basically determines your position in the queue for a patent, the filing date is crucial. The majority of nations worldwide evaluate patent applications in the order in which they are received. This means that an invention’s patentability is determined by the date it was filed, not invented. As a consequence of this, there is a sense of urgency to be the first to file a patent application for an anticipated invention.
When determining whether something is patentable, it does not matter who invented it first; rather, being the first to file a patent application for your proposed invention is crucial. If you wait too long to file a patent application, it’s possible that someone else will either reveal your proposed invention before you do. Consequently, any applications that were submitted prior to yours will take precedence over them, and any public disclosures that were made prior to yours may harm your chances of obtaining a patent. Additionally, when a provisional patent application is submitted, your proposed invention will be regarded as “patent pending.”You can inform customers that your product is novel, distinct, and may only be available from you by including this information on its packaging. Additionally, it informs your competitors that a patent application has been filed, which discourages copying.
Waiting between filing a provisional patent application and a regular, non-provisional patent application can also be very beneficial. An opportunity to publicly disclose your proposed invention without worrying that your own non-confidential disclosures could undermine the patentability of your proposed invention is provided by a filed provisional patent application, which secures a filing date. If someone saw your proposed invention and decided to file a patent application, you would have secured an earlier filing date. Observe that to receive the rewards of recording a temporary application, you should present an ordinary, non-temporary patent application in the span of an extended period of the underlying temporary application.
As a result, once a provisional patent application has been submitted, the proposed invention can be sold or promoted to test the market and determine whether or not it is worthwhile to patent the invention or not to pursue patent protection at all. As soon as you start selling your proposed invention, you’ll be able to see how people react, how big the market is, and other things. This will help you decide how to protect your intellectual property or if you should get a patent at all.
For instance, pursuing patent protection may not be a wise investment if the market is small because the costs may outweigh the benefits. In the time following the filing of a provisional patent application, for instance, financing for the regular, non-provisional patent application can be secured. Alternately, if you want to license your proposed invention, you can use this time to sell it to larger businesses (ideally with a suitable non-disclosure agreement).