The Benefits of Filing a Provisional Patent Application

Provisional patent applications offer a cost-effective solution for securing an earlier filing date. They’re ideal for inventors who wish to test their concept in the market before filing for full patent protection.

When creating a provisional patent, it’s essential to clearly describe the invention and how it functions. This can be accomplished through various means such as written descriptions and sketches.


Filing a patent application can be quite expensive due to the numerous fees involved and how long the process may take.

When applying for a patent, there are several factors that will determine the cost – the type of invention, complexity level and whether or not an attorney is needed. While it can be challenging to accurately estimate exact costs associated with filing a patent application, creating a budget and keeping track of expenses should help give an accurate figure.

One of the first fees you’ll need to pay is a provisional application fee, which can range from $70 to $140 depending on whether or not your business qualifies as either micro-entity or small entity. Alternatively, you could hire an attorney for assistance which may significantly reduce this expense.

Another cost you will need to factor in is the USPTO filing fee, which typically costs $530 for small entities. After filing your patent application with the USPTO, an examiner will review it and ensure it satisfies all necessary criteria for validity.

During the examination process, it’s not uncommon for a patent to receive a rejection from the examiner. You may need to respond with either a response letter or other documents in response; fortunately, these costs are relatively minor in comparison with what it costs to file a patent application itself.

Patent applications can take up to 18 months to be approved, and during that time you may encounter some rejections. Nonetheless, don’t let that stop you from pursuing a patent on your invention.

A provisional patent application can be an excellent starting point in the process of getting your invention patented. This option is especially advantageous for those without enough money to file a non-provisional patent application. Furthermore, those who want to postpone paying for a patent but still require it before their invention can be commercialized have another viable option with provisional patent applications.


If your invention has yet to be publicly disclosed, filing for a provisional patent application can be beneficial. Doing so allows for an effective patent filing date as close to your actual invention as possible.

Therefore, it is crucial to file your provisional application as soon as possible after discovering your invention. Doing so gives you an advantage in the patent process and ensures that your application is approved before others.

Furthermore, it’s essential to accurately describe your invention both in its written description and drawings. Doing this will guarantee that your patent will be granted and you can reap the rewards it provides.

One of the most frequent mistakes inventors make when filing their provisional applications is failing to fully describe their invention. This could involve failing to specify how they have implemented their concept or providing a description that’s too general or vague.

In order to be granted a provisional patent application by the USPTO, an inventor must provide an extensive description of their invention and its key features. While this can be challenging for some inventors, it is essential that this step be taken quickly and correctly.

To make the process smoother, consider including drawings of your invention in your provisional application. Doing so will enable examining attorneys to quickly comprehend what you’ve created and confirm that it has been described accurately.

A successful provisional application should include a detailed description of your invention and its key features, as well as any pertinent references to other inventions. Computer software applications require especially much detail in order for patent approval; without this information, many patent applications will fail.

It is advised to file a second provisional application for your invention as soon as possible after the initial filing. This can be beneficial for inventors with deadlines to make an offer on a potential product or those who want to be ready for public display of their invention.


If you want to protect your invention at an early stage, filing for a provisional patent application is the best course of action. Doing this ensures that your filing date for the patent will remain protected and gives you ample time to develop and perfect your invention fully.

Furthermore, this type of patent application can be used to grant priority to a later-filed non-provisional (or foreign) patent application. However, this later application must be filed within one year from the first provisional patent application and must fully describe the invention being claimed.

Generally, an application’s priority date controls all prior art that affects whether or not a statutory bar applies and the patentability of an invention. However, this isn’t always the case.

When a patent application claims priority to an earlier-filed application, it is known as a “priority claim.” To do this, the applicant must submit documentation with both the filing date of their earlier-filed application and declaration of priority claim within four months from that date or 16 months from earliest priority date, whichever comes first.

Your provisional application date is essential for the patentability of your invention, as this date serves as the foundation upon which you can claim all prior art related to the invention. Therefore, ensure that your provisional application contains enough specificity so that this claim can be supported.

Additionally, you may wish to include a variety of claim types in your provisional application. Doing so will assist with focus during drafting and may grant stronger priority benefits for any subsequent nonprovisional or foreign applications that cite the benefits of your provisional application’s claims.

On a provisional application, it is wise to identify inventors who “contributed to the conception” of at least one claim. This distinction differs from “inventor” as used in product patents or published papers, which refers to someone who has actualized an inventive concept.

Your provisional application should clearly and comprehensively describe all aspects of the invention, so that a person with expertise can create and utilize it. This includes outlining the product in broad terms but also outlining how it differs from prior art and what uses are available for it.


Provisional patent application are preliminary applications with fewer requirements than full patent applications, which can be used to establish priority rights and safeguard your idea before filing a more comprehensive formal patent application.

To obtain a provisional patent, the initial step is to complete and file USPTO Form SB-16, known as the cover sheet for your application. This sheet identifies the inventors and title of your invention as well as providing any disclosure required and requiring your signature.

Another essential requirement of your application is that it adequately and precisely describes your invention, its function, how to make it and how to utilize it. Your description must be comprehensive enough so that anyone with ordinary skill in the art can construct it from your instructions.

Finally, you must demonstrate that your invention is not already known to others (known as prior art). To do this, search online or look for any publications, patents, websites or sales of related products published before your filing date; as well as any other disclosures which could be used against you in a judicial proceeding.

However, a provisional application that is not written properly and complete will have its priority rights denied. In order to receive a patent for your invention, you must provide an extensive description in such detail that someone with ordinary skill in the art can make it.

If your product is still under development, you may wish to file multiple provisional applications. As each milestone is reached or an inventive element is developed, a new provisional application can be filed that claims the benefit of that milestone or inventive work.

At a later date, you can convert your provisional patent application to a non-provisional patent application. However, be aware that you must pay both the basic filing fee and surcharge for not having paid when filing the provisional. Furthermore, all necessary paperwork needs to be prepared including a petition for conversion and preliminary amendment to add claims.