Filing A Provisional


Software and devices are available on the web & designed to help inventors file a provisional patent application. These patent services offer to take your rough written descriptions and informal drawing or photographs and convert them into to a provisional patent application at a suspiciously low cost (e.g. $99 to $199 + filing fee). This incurs the risk of providing significantly less protection than what you need to protect your invention.

I recommend that if you are considering filing an inexpensive provisional patent application, you apply the following criteria:

Are you sufficiently protected so that you are willing to show your patent pending provisional application to a potential customer or licensee?

The provisional prepares fully satisfy the formal requirements of the USPTO for filing a Non-provisional Patent Application. We encourage our clients to use the provisionals patent applicants we prepare for marketing under appropriate confidentiality conditions.

Advantage of Filing a Provisional

The advantage of filing a provisional patent application first and then filing a non-provisional patent application within one year are the following:

The invention is Patent Pending. After filing the provisional patent application, the inventor may legally use the term Patent Pending and can start investigating the marketing potential of the invention without incurring the additional costs of a non-provisional filing.

Compensate for Newly Surfaced Prior Art. After filing the provisional patent application, the inventor has a year to determine if any additional patent documents, non-patent publications or commercially available products surface which needs to be accounted for in the non-provisional application.

Accommodate Improvements. Although most independent inventors aren’t aware of this, the inventor can continue to improve the invention after the provisional patent application is filed. If the inventor wants to include these improvements in the not yet filed non-provisional patent application, we will carefully modify or enhance the detailed description section and the drawings, and carefully craft the claims of the non-provisional patent application so the improvements are properly accounted for. When this is done properly, the original invention can be claimed with a priority date of the provisional patent application filing date while the improvements can be addressed in separate claims with a priority date of the non-provisional patent application.

Disadvantages of Filing a Provisional

Higher total cost.   The total cost for filing a provisional and a non-provisional patent application is at least $500 more than just filing a non-provisional patent application

Delay in Patent Prosecution and Issue. Patents are typically persecuted about three years  after the filing date of the non-provisional patent application.

Additional Effort Required for Inventor. Inventor must file two applications over a period of a year. This is time that is not available for commercializing the  patent pending invention.