How to File a Provisional Patent Application

If you are an inventor with a product or service idea, it is essential that you file for patent protection. A patent grants exclusive legal rights to your invention for a specified period of time.

Though filing a formal patent application is the preferred path, filing for a provisional patent can be an economical first step in protecting your invention. However, be sure that your invention is novel and unique before applying for this type of protection.


Provisional patent applications are an attractive choice for inventors looking to save money while testing the feasibility of their invention. However, this process comes at a price; not everyone can afford it.

The cost of a provisional patent application varies based on the complexity and quality of your invention, with prices ranging from $700 to $1400 more than what you might pay for non-provisional applications.

Additionally, you should factor in any attorney fees that may be necessary for preparation and filing your patent application. While these costs vary, they could amount to several thousand dollars.

Furthermore, you should account for the search and examination fees mandated by the USPTO. These charges cover expenses related to searching pending patents and other similar inventions, as well as conducting an examination of your patent application.

Another fee to consider is the “excess claims” fee in utility patent applications. This covers the examiner’s time to search up to three independent claims and up to 20 total claims in your application; if there are more than three independent claims included, your basic fee will increase by $400 per claim.

Remember, however, that this fee only applies for a certain period after filing your patent application. If you continue to pursue the application after this point, you will need to pay an issuance fee and response fees for each rejection or Office Action received.

Fees can make up a substantial part of the overall patent application cost, especially for smaller entities. To get an accurate estimate, consult with an experienced patent specialist.

Drafting a quality patent application can take an extensive amount of time due to its legal and technical complexity. Furthermore, you need to organize all pertinent information that must be included in your application for processing.

Though the above factors may contribute to an increase in your patent application cost, it’s essential to remember that many of these expenses can be avoided by carefully and thoroughly preparing the application. Furthermore, consult a qualified patent expert before making any major decisions regarding your invention.


Provisional patent applications (PPAs) are the most affordable route in the patent process and give inventors an extra year of protection before applying for a full patent. The USPTO provides fillable PDFs that make filing a PPA straightforward; however, make sure your application accurately describes your invention to protect your rights.

The length of time necessary to finish a provisional patent application depends on several factors, including the complexity of your invention and how quickly you can collect all relevant information. For instance, complex software applications require more details than simpler mechanical devices or processes do.

On average, it takes two to four weeks for a lawyer to draft your provisional application. The length of time depends on the lawyer’s caseload, the complexity of your invention and what information you provide them with.

Additionally, your patent attorney must create a set of drawings for your application. These may cost anywhere from $300 to $500 depending on the complexity and size.

Finally, you must pay a filing fee when filing your provisional patent application with the USPTO. Doing this helps guarantee your application is filed timely and gives you an established priority date.

One of the advantages of filing a provisional application is that it secures your priority date without starting the patent term clock, allowing you to assess your invention’s commercial potential while devising an overall patent strategy. Furthermore, filing the application protects both your priority date and confidentiality – especially useful if you plan to disclose your invention soon after filing.

Therefore, it is often advised to prepare a provisional application as quickly as possible and follow up with a full patent application within 12 months of the initial filing. Doing this provides you with an advantageous filing date close to when you actually invented your invention.

Priority Date

In the United States, provisional patent applications are filed to establish an invention’s “priority date,” that is, to demonstrate that the applicant had already developed and perfected the claimed invention as of its filing date. For maximum effectiveness, however, these documents should provide enough detail for someone of ordinary skill to make and utilize it without undue experimentation.

In addition to providing a priority date, the specification of a provisional patent application must meet certain disclosure requirements as outlined in USPTO Rules and Regulations, which can be found on their website.

Under section 43 of the US Patent and Trademark Office’s (USPTO) patent laws, each claim must have a priority date. This date plays an integral role when assessing claims for novelty and inventive/innovative step.

When determining priority dates for claims involving microorganisms, deposits under the Budapest Treaty should be taken into consideration. A complete specification meeting the requirements of sec 6(c) serves as a priority document for purposes of sec 43 and provides an enabling disclosure of the invention including the micro-organism.

Priority dates are essential in calculating the deadlines for filing foreign applications and international patent applications, such as PCT ones. Generally speaking, priority dates are calculated from the earliest filing date in a family of patent applications.

Priority dates refer to the filing date of the earliest patent application that first disclosed an invention or idea. Depending on the type of invention, this can either be either the provisional or non-provisional filing date for that family’s earliest application.

However, a continuation-in-part (CIP) application may have an earlier priority date if it is the only application in its family that seeks new subject matter for which there was insufficient basis or enablement to be disclosed in the initial application. This often applies to improvements/changes or new versions of concepts which were not considered when the original filing was made.


If you have an innovative product, invention or process and wish to protect it, filing for a patent is required. This complex procedure necessitates extensive effort and can be costly in the long run.

Though you can do this on your own, professional assistance is recommended to guarantee everything runs smoothly. Doing so will help avoid unexpected expenses and give your idea the protection it deserves.

Provisional applications do not need to meet the same standards as non-provisional patents, but they still must fully describe the invention. This means it should include a written description, enablement statement, oath or declaration and any drawings necessary for understanding it.

Provisional applications must fully disclose an invention, otherwise its validity may be challenged. Therefore, it’s essential to craft a provisional application with care.

Be sure to cite an inventor on a provisional application as required by US law. This should be done with respect to the person who actually invented the concept or process, rather than someone who simply contributed to its execution.

By doing this, you can guarantee your invention is protected.

Be aware, however, that if another party has previously disclosed your invention in a non-provisional application before you, they can claim priority to it. Your invention remains “prior art,” so they must show how it differs significantly from theirs or represents an important advancement in technology before being granted patent rights.

It is essential to remember that a provisional application does not grant additional patent protection; however, it can help you develop your idea and safeguard it against potential infringement by others. Furthermore, provisional applications are ideal for inventors who do not know how to complete non-provisional applications or don’t have enough time for full applications.