Online Filing Service?

Some online services will prepare and file provisional patent applications at a surprisingly low fee. My advice is to uses these services with extreme caution. Typically, they ask you to fill in some information on forms and to provide a drawing or two. They take this information and file a provisional application with it. What is good about these services is that they are likely to file a formally correct application. What is bad about them is that the filed provisional application will offer little actual protection. The nonprovisional application that is later filed claiming priority to the provisional can only claim what is properly disclosed in the provisional. It is unlikely that the provisional filed under these circumstances will properly protect the invention. In fact, some of these services appear to be a bait-and-switch operation. Once you start filling out forms, they will offer additional services at an additional price. When you are done, you will be paying as much as you would pay by using a registered patent agent to file your application, but without the proper protection that a patent practitioner will provide.