The Benefits and Risks of Provisional Patent Service

Provisional patent application (PPA) is a more cost-effective alternative to filing for an actual utility or design patent. It enables inventors to test their ideas before investing the time and resources necessary to apply for such protection.

It can be applied to a wide range of inventions, from small devices handcrafted in your workshop to high-tech software programs developed by Fortune 500 companies. It gives inventors twelve months to assess their invention’s commercial potential before investing in more costly non-provisional patent applications.


Provisional patent service costs vary based on the type of intellectual property being protected, as different patents provide various levels of protection and the amount of time needed to secure them.

On average, patent attorneys charge between $1,500 and $3,000 to prepare and file a provisional patent application for an easy invention. However, this amount may increase significantly if the patent is more complex such as a software patent.

In addition to the filing fee, attorneys typically charge for research and writing your application as well as communicating with you via phone or email. While this may seem like a high price to pay in the short term, it ensures your patent is filed correctly and on schedule.

A knowledgeable patent lawyer can assist you in determining if your idea is patentable and conducting a search to see if any competitors have already patented similar concepts. Doing this helps you avoid costly patent infringement lawsuits and safeguards your idea from other competitors.

Once your idea has been approved as patentable, you must file a provisional application with the USPTO. This application grants 12 months of patent protection from filing date; therefore, make sure to file within this time period.

After filing, you must then pay an issue fee to the USPTO in order for your patent to become valid and issued as a patent.

Other fees related to your patent will include maintenance fees at years 3.5, 7.5 and 11.5 of its lifespan. These costs vary between law firms but typically cost around $800, $1,800 and $3,700 respectively.

In addition to preparing and filing your patent application, a lawyer can negotiate the issuance of your patent and handle any appeals that may arise. While this can be the most expensive part of the patent process, it is essential for guaranteeing that your invention remains protected.


The time required to complete a provisional patent service depends on the complexity of your invention. On average, it takes between four and six weeks after meeting with a patent attorney before filing your provisional application.

At this meeting, your patent attorney will go into detail about your invention, its advantages and potential uses. Doing this helps guarantee that the provisional application is correctly written and meets all necessary criteria for filing a patent application.

After your initial meeting, your patent attorney will craft a provisional patent application and submit it to the PTO for review and approval. It is essential that you provide feedback to them throughout this stage.

The quality of your patent application is essential in determining if your invention qualifies for patenting. Therefore, it’s essential that you get this process right.

In most cases, a written description of your invention must be included in the patent application. This description should be sufficient for someone with ordinary skill in your field to make and utilize the invention based on what it claims.

Additionally, including drawings and diagrams of your invention is highly recommended. Doing so can be particularly advantageous when presenting it to the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO).

In addition to the description, it is essential to conduct prior art searches and guarantee the information in your provisional application is up-to-date. Doing this will help you establish priority and pendency for your invention.

Another key advantage of filing a provisional patent application is that it allows you to postpone examination by the USPTO for up to 12 months, giving yourself time to further develop your invention and assess whether continuing down the path towards patent prosecution is worth it.

The extra time invested in developing your invention will pay dividends in the future, as it helps save you money when going through patent prosecution. Furthermore, taking this extra step will enable you to identify what works and what doesn’t.


Provisional patent application (PPA) is an easy, low-cost way to register your invention with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. All you need to do is submit a written description and drawings of your invention along with paying the basic filing fee and cover sheet.

In contrast to standard patent applications, which require more formality, a PPA does not need review by a patent examiner and doesn’t necessitate detailed claims. This saves inventors considerable time and money.

Furthermore, this provides inventors with a way to test the market for their invention before filing for a full patent application. This is an especially advantageous option for those who may not have enough funds to hire an expert to conduct patent searches and create non-disclosure agreements.

A provisional application’s primary requirement is that your invention be new and unique. If your idea has already become widely known or is too obvious, then you should probably forgo filing for this type of application.

It is wise to verify that your invention does not infringe upon any existing patents by searching the database at either the USPTO or World Intellectual Property Organization.

Another essential step in preparing for a provisional application is clearly outlining your invention. Include enough details so someone with ordinary skill in the field can reproduce it using the method and materials described. It would also be beneficial to include drawings or diagrams of your invention, if feasible.

A qualified patent attorney can assist in drafting your PPA and guarantee it meets all necessary criteria. They also explain the legal repercussions of your invention and how to safeguard it legally.

Are you ready to file your PPA? Connect with a trademark lawyer on ContractsCounsel today. They can guide you through the entire process of preparing and filing your application with the USPTO.

Once you understand the requirements for filing a provisional patent application, you can begin crafting and filing your application. Although this can be an easy step-by-step process, consulting with an experienced patent attorney before filing is always recommended.


For many small businesses, a provisional patent application is an affordable alternative to filing for full patent protection. Additionally, it offers 12 months of coverage against potential prior art. Nevertheless, there are risks involved.

Inventors often fail to adequately disclose their invention in a provisional patent application, which can lead to issues in the future. This is especially true if they attempt to keep part of their invention secret. As a result, priority may not be granted, foreign patent rights may be lost, or US patent rights cannot be secured.

Another common issue caused by a provisional is the failure to disclose alternate embodiments by which competitors can design around the invention. This puts at risk the validity of an issued patent and renders it worthless for either the inventor or their competitors.

This issue can be avoided by clearly disclosing the invention in a provisional patent application and including alternate embodiments in the non-provisional application. Furthermore, make sure your patent application includes an extensive description of your invention with drawings and diagrams so that a patent examiner can assess it more quickly during prosecution.

A patent application should clearly define the boundaries for intellectual property, safeguarding against infringement or diluting ownership rights to the invention. Doing this is essential in securing valuable patent rights and safeguarding a company’s investment in innovation.

It’s essential to note that a provisional patent application does not grant you any rights to sell or license your invention. While you may be able to sell it after the provisional patent is granted, selling will likely be an uphill battle since most companies won’t even consider purchasing your invention until after its full disclosure has been revealed in a non-provisional patent application.

In conclusion, you must demonstrate to the patent examiner that your invention is novel, original and useful. Otherwise, your application will be rejected by the office and you won’t have any patent rights for protecting it. It’s critical that you consult an attorney prior to making any final decisions about which path best suits your invention.