Patent Pending Provisional Application

A patent pending provisional application is an economical way to safeguard a novel concept prior to applying for full protection. This permits inventors to maintain their status as “first to file” without disclosing the specific invention they are safeguarding.

Provisional applications do not need formal patent claims, inventors’ oath or declaration, or any prior art disclosure statement. Nonetheless, it should include a detailed description of the invention along with any drawings necessary for understanding what is sought to be patented.


The cost of a patent pending provisional application can vary based on its complexity and amount of work involved. As such, many entrepreneurs rely on this type of patent to safeguard their innovative ideas while they conduct further research or refinement on their product.

If your idea is sound, the potential value of a patent pending provisional application could be substantial. Nonetheless, there’s no guarantee that such protection will be granted and it’s difficult to predict how quickly your plan will gain market acceptance and become profitable.

For maximum benefit from your provisional application, it must be properly prepared and filed with the USPTO. Hiring an attorney to draft your application and file it will give your invention strong patent protection once a utility patent application is filed later on.

A reliable attorney will have an intimate knowledge of the process and be your go-to guide throughout it. Many offer complimentary consultations so you can determine if they are suitable for your requirements before investing money on their services.

Provisional patent applications are much simpler and cheaper to prepare and file than standard non-provisional applications, which only need a specification and couple of drawings. They do not require formal patent claims or inventors’ oaths or declarations like standard non-provisional patent applications which can range in cost from $280 (undiscounted) up to $350 as of May 5, 2021.

Another advantage of filing a provisional application is that it grants an earlier priority date. This feature appeals to many entrepreneurs, especially those who have been approached by angel investors to fund their business venture.

A provisional application has the potential disadvantage of hurting your chances for obtaining a utility patent in the future. Your patent examiner may uncover prior art that was not included in your initial application, leading to rejection of your invention.

To avoid such issues, it’s best to file a utility patent application as soon as you have finished developing your invention and can provide solid evidence. Having an experienced lawyer review your patent application also offers added assurance that it’s correct and will offer maximum protection for your invention in the future.


The timeline for completing a patent pending provisional application depends on the specifics of your invention. To maximize efficiency, file the application as soon as possible while outlining any significant progress made towards developing your product or process.

In addition to avoiding unintentional patent infringement, the first inventor who files a provisional application for patent protection on his or her product or process usually receives the first patent on it. This gives them an edge over competitors who cannot yet secure patents on their own ideas.

Furthermore, by filing a provisional application prior to public disclosure of your invention, you can safeguard your United States rights by preventing other inventors from acquiring the same patent in another country before the USPTO grants you protection for your idea. This is particularly critical in countries with stringent requirements for “complete or absolute novelty” in order to qualify for patent protection.

Another advantage of a provisional application is that it allows you to claim your priority date as close as possible to the invention date. This is known as the filing date of a provisional application and could give you an advantage when filing non-provisional patent applications in the future.

A provisional application should be filed within one year after an inventor has publicly disclosed their invention, in order to protect United States patent rights in case they decide to pursue a patent in the future. It’s best not to publicize your invention more than one year prior to filing for provisional application as this could render your patent void in foreign countries if filing non-provisional applications for international protection.

After filing a provisional application, it will expire after 12 months. To retain the priority date of the provisional application and claim its filing benefits, applicants should file non-provisional patent applications within that time period; however, waiting longer than one year could lead to insufficiently detailed patent applications.

Priority Date

The priority date of a patent pending provisional application is essential as it indicates when an invention was first made practical. This enables inventors to rely on the disclosures in their provisional application when filing non-provisional patent applications based on that same information contained therein.

The USPTO is particularly interested in the written description and enablement of an invention, as this will determine whether the inventor possesses sufficient knowledge of its subject matter to make and utilize it. Thus, provisional applications should include both a description of the invention as well as any drawings necessary for someone skilled in the art to reproduce it accurately.

Additionally, it is essential to include inventors’ names in a provisional application. Doing so helps establish ownership of the invention and prevents patent rights being assigned elsewhere. This becomes especially relevant in cases where inventors are employed by separate entities with their own intellectual property policies and/or contracts governing their intellectual property rights.

It is essential for an inventor who must assign their rights to their employer in the provisional application to disclose this fact. Likewise, an inventor who works as a contractor or collaborator should do the same.

Provisional patent applications cannot be amended or supplemented after filing, unlike non-provisional applications which allow new elements to have a later priority date once the invention has been fully developed and filed as a non-provisional patent application.

Therefore, it is recommended that inventors prepare a provisional application and submit it to the USPTO as soon as possible after developing an invention. However, if the invention has yet to be made or does not have commercial value yet, then waiting at least 12 months after filing your provisional patent application before filing a non-provisional patent application would be wiser.

It is essential to remember that a provisional application will expire 12 months after filing, but an additional two-month period can be used to revive lost priority from abandoned provisional applications. This gives inventors one year to file non-provisional patent applications.


A patent pending provisional application is a special type of patent filing that permits inventors to protect their invention without needing full utility patent application costs and time. While this filing has its advantages, there are also drawbacks and should only be utilized when absolutely necessary.

Once the USPTO accepts a provisional application, it assigns it both a filing date and official priority date. Although there are no requirements to publish or examine this application by the USPTO, it will become publicly accessible when another non-provisional application claims priority to your provisional application.

Generally, provisional applications are ideal for inventors who wish to postpone the costs and effort of obtaining a patent while conducting further market research or product development. Furthermore, it helps establish a first-to-file priority date in the United States, which can prevent others from stealing an idea.

It is best to identify the inventors on an application by name and guarantee that each one contributed both to conceptualizing the invention as well as translating it into practice. Doing this can help establish a stronger priority date for later filed non-provisional applications.

In certain circumstances, filing multiple provisional applications as each new inventive element or milestone is completed may be beneficial. Once these multiple applications are filed within one year of each other, they can then be consolidated into a single non-provisional application.

The patent system will recognize an invention as new and useful if it involves a process, machine, manufacture or composition of matter that is novel, useful and non-obvious to those not already acquainted with the subject matter. To this end, an application must provide sufficient detail so that someone skilled in related technical fields can make and utilize the invention.

In order to be granted a filing date, the application must include both a written description of the invention and any drawings necessary for its understanding, in accordance with 35 U.S.C. SS112(a). Note that failure to meet these requirements will prevent your application from being granted one.