What is a Nolo Provisional Patent?
Inventors who want to claim their invention as “patent pending” before marketing it can file for a provisional patent. This is an inexpensive way to safeguard your creation and buy yourself time to decide whether regular patenting is worth pursuing.
This bestselling primer on patent law contains up-to-date information on the America Invents Act, the most significant change to American patent law in two centuries. It assists inventors with documenting their invention, understanding how and why to conduct a patent search, determining patent ownership, discovering patent information, comprehending international patent law and deciding whether or not to file for a provisional patent – plus much more!
What is a provisional patent?
Provisional patents are patent applications filed to gain the advantage of a priority filing date, but which do not begin the clock on the patent term. This provides inventors with protection for an agreed-upon period without worrying about competitors obtaining protection on the same invention.
Provisional patents provide inventors with time to explore their idea, assess its value and test commercial viability before investing in the expensive and time-consuming formal application process. Furthermore, they give inventors a way to protect their new product from being copied by competitors during the 12-month gap between filing for a provisional patent and filing an official application.
Provisional applications, like other patent applications, must include a written description of the invention that meets 35 U.S.C. SS112(a). This description should be written so that someone of ordinary skill in the relevant field could make and use it based on this description.
It is essential to include any drawings necessary to explain the invention in a provisional application after filing date. Furthermore, any documents or information which can support proof of concept should also be included. However, drawings not essential for understanding the invention cannot be added after filing date due to prohibition against adding new matter into such applications.
Additionally, a provisional application should be filed before any public disclosure of the invention has been made, since such disclosure could disqualify you from receiving a patent in either the United States or abroad. Hence, it is essential to thoroughly describe your invention in a provisional patent document.
Finally, a provisional application should not be drafted by a non-patent attorney. This is because poor drafting of the provisional application could restrict an inventor’s future ability to enforce their patent against infringers.
Filing for a provisional patent is best done with an intellectual property attorney who can guide you through the process and guarantee your application is written clearly and comprehensively. In fact, it’s often wise to engage an intellectual property lawyer even before beginning to draft your application, since poorly constructed documents may stall progress or increase patent application costs significantly.
What is the process of filing a provisional patent?
Filing a provisional patent application can be complicated, but it’s essential for safeguarding your idea. A provisional application provides temporary protection of 12 months while you work on developing your invention and helps stop others from copying or stealing it.
The initial step in filing a provisional application is to ascertain if your idea is unique and patentable. To do this, conduct a search of the patent database.
Provisional patent applications are a cost-effective and time-saving alternative to filing for full patent protection for an invention. This may be especially advantageous to inventors who lack the resources or expertise required to craft non-provisional patent applications.
If you have an innovative idea for a new invention, it is wise to submit a provisional patent application as soon as possible. Doing this will protect your creation for one year and provide enough funds to complete a full patent application.
Filing a provisional patent application online is an ideal way to begin your patent journey. It has numerous advantages and is much simpler to manage than the manual process.
Provisional applications, unlike utility patents which must be filed in the United States, can be submitted to any patent office worldwide. Furthermore, the date of filing a provisional application may serve as the foreign priority date for one or more subsequent international patent applications.
Therefore, research and find out if other inventors have already patented similar ideas. Doing this gives you a better idea of the competitive landscape and helps avoid any unpleasant surprises (like an expensive patent search) down the line.
Another advantage is that if your idea proves more valuable in its early years, a provisional patent application can extend the life of your patent. This is particularly helpful for medical devices and other inventions with greater value at this stage in their patent life cycle.
How much does it cost to file a provisional patent?
The cost of filing for a provisional patent depends on several factors, such as how much work you need to do on your own, whether or not you hire a patent attorney, and how many claims are included in your application.
Filing a patent can be cost-effective at first, but can become increasingly expensive as your invention becomes more complex. For instance, software applications can run up to $15,000 or more and thus become one of the more costly inventions to secure with a provisional patent.
In addition to drafting and filing your patent application, you must also pay the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) fees for a provisional patent. These include an initial basic application fee, fees per page of your patent document, as well as time extension request fees.
However, this amount still represents only a fraction of the overall cost to file a non-provisional patent application. For an easy invention, a patent attorney may charge approximately $3500 in attorney’s fees to prepare and file your non-provisional patent application, plus paying the government filing fee of $530.
Inventors may want to consider hiring a patent lawyer to draft and file their non-provisional patent application. Doing so without legal guidance can prove more challenging than simply filing the application itself.
When searching for a patent lawyer, UpCounsel’s marketplace may be your ideal solution. This site accepts only the top 5 percent of attorneys from top law schools such as Yale or Harvard, with an average tenure of 14 years in legal practice.
UpCounsel also offers a free legal consultation, so you can get more information before hiring an attorney for provisional patent assistance. Their lawyers are some of the best in their fields and have collaborated with companies such as Google and Menlo Ventures.
Filing a patent can range in cost from $1,000 to $20,000. This depends on how you handle the process yourself, how many claims are included in your application, and whether or not you use an attorney.
What are the benefits of filing a provisional patent?
Filing for a provisional patent has several advantages. Some of these advantages include:
Time to Develop, Market and Fundraise Your Product
One of the primary reasons startups file a provisional application is that they need more time to develop their invention. As this period is usually only 12 months long, inventors can take advantage of this period by marketing their invention, raising money and fully developing their product before having to file for non-provisional patent applications. This gives them ample opportunity for development during this interim period.
Another reason many inventors opt to file a provisional patent is they can avoid having to pay the government filing fees associated with a regular patent application. Since these fees are much lower for a provisional application, startups looking for cost-saving measures often choose this route over regular applications.
A provisional application can also be used to gain a “priority” filing date, which could prove advantageous if you decide later to file for full patent protection. This is especially helpful if expanding into foreign markets as it gives priority access to applications filed within countries that are part of the Paris Convention.
Inventors can use their provisional application to demonstrate to potential investors that they possess a valid patent and are confident in the market’s support of their idea. This attracts investors looking for assurances that their investment will be profitable and successful over time.
Filing a provisional application can give you more time to research and develop your invention, which could be beneficial when testing the market and determining whether it has commercial potential. Furthermore, investing in a patent for your idea might be worthwhile as it will protect it from other inventors who might come up with similar concepts in the future.
Finally, a provisional patent application offers inventors the opportunity to use “patent pending” on their product. This can be especially advantageous for startup businesses since it helps boost the perceived value of your intellectual property and encourage investors to invest more in your venture.