What is a Provisional Patent Look Up?

A provisional patent is a legal document filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office that grants you an early filing date for your invention. This provides protection for 12 months while you complete non-provisional paperwork to secure a valid patent.

At this stage, the USPTO does not examine or publish provisional patents. These remain secret and can be difficult to locate online.

Prior art

A provisional patent lookup is the initial step in assessing whether your invention deserves protection. Not only does it give you a better idea of the patent’s scope, but it can also help you make an informed decision about whether to file for a full utility patent.

Prior art refers to any information that exists prior to your invention, including articles published in scholarly or trade publications, presentations at conferences, existing products on the market, and other disclosures.

Publication-type prior art is usually the most accessible and evident. This could include an inventor’s written description of their invention, an article in a scientific journal, a patent application that was filed but never issued, an advertisement or brochure for a product containing your invention, etc.

Though these sources are the most prevalent forms of prior art, they are not the only ones. Some forms of prior art can be more challenging to detect than others.

One form of prior art in the United States is when an earlier inventor makes an invention without permission before its later inventor (who applies for a patent) does. Unlike publication-type prior art, which can be broadly defined, commercial operations and offers for sale must take place within America in order to qualify as prior art.

However, it is essential to remember that commercial operations and offers for sale may be considered prior art even if the public at large or anyone in the relevant industry lacks actual knowledge of their occurrence or the capacity to acquire such information.

Another type of prior art that may be harder to detect is the simple “making” of an invention by an earlier inventor before its patent applicant has even thought of it. In Apotex v Merck, for instance, a court held that Apotex’s creation prior to filing for patent protection constituted prior art under the United States Patent Act.

Prior art can present a particular challenge for inventors attempting to patent their invention, since the patent challenger must prove that the “making” wasn’t abandoned, suppressed or concealed. Conducting an exhaustive prior art search is therefore vital in order to avoid protracted disputes with USPTO’s patent examiner and reduce your chances of rejection due to patent infringement.

Non-provisional patents

A patent is evidence that someone has created something and you have the right to stop them from using or selling it without your approval. There are various types of patents, such as utility patents, design patents and plant patents.

Utility patents are the most popular type of patent and last 20 years. They cover everything from a new machine to an entirely new method for doing something; on the other hand, design patents only protect decorative features of an item, making them more costly to acquire than utility patents.

Non-provisional patent applications are full patent applications that must be reviewed by the USPTO. They include a specification, which is an in-depth written description of your invention; claims–which are statements regarding what the patent covers–and drawings as needed.

When filing a non-provisional patent application, the USPTO assigns it a serial number and verifies that all required documents and fees have been submitted correctly. If not, an official notice will be sent out to request those documents.

At that point, the patent application will be assigned to a patent examiner who will review it and determine if it is patentable. If not, rejection will follow quickly thereafter.

The USPTO will verify if your patent application complies with the rules established by the patent office. This includes providing a written description that is detailed enough for others in the same field to replicate your invention, as well as any drawings that may be required.

Another essential requirement of a non-provisional application is an oath or declaration that you are the inventor and have not broken any laws by creating your invention. Furthermore, be sure to include filing, search, and examination fees with your application.

Non-provisional patent applications are usually more cost-effective to prepare and file than provisional applications, however they may not always provide the desired protections. It’s recommended that inventors consult with a knowledgeable patent attorney to determine whether a non-provisional application is best suited to their needs.

Filing a provisional patent application

A provisional patent application is an ideal way to assess the commercial viability of a new invention. It gives inventors the protection they need to take their invention to market, giving them 12 months to assess its worth before investing both time and money in patenting it.

The key to a successful provisional patent application lies in providing an extensive description of the invention. This should be done as precisely as possible, so that anyone knowledgeable in the relevant field can reproduce it accurately.

Additionally, include a list of your invention’s features and an illustration or picture of the product. Doing this will help the USPTO better comprehend your invention, making it simpler to defend against challenges from other inventors or companies.

Before beginning this process, it is wise to perform a search of the patent database to confirm your idea is unique and not already taken. You can do this using Public PAIR – Public Patent Application Information Retrieval System.

Although you can do the initial search yourself, many people enlist the assistance of a patent lawyer for analysis. The USPTO database is vast and complex; even experienced inventors may struggle to navigate it effectively.

Once you have a thorough understanding of the prior art, you can begin filing your provisional patent application. This requires paying an appropriate fee and completing some forms either online or via post.

Once you submit your application to the USPTO, they will issue a receipt with an official filing date and provisional patent number. This receipt usually arrives in 3 to 5 business days via post.

If you don’t file a non-provisional patent application within one year of filing your provisional, then you could potentially forfeit rights to the invention due to what’s known as “the one-year bar”.

Filing a non-provisional patent application

Filing a non-provisional patent application is the formal filing of an invention with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). It’s similar to filing for utility patents but includes several additional components.

The claims section is the most critical aspect of a non-provisional application. This section defines the boundaries of patent protection, which is essential for safeguarding your invention.

Attorneys use this section of their application to dissect an invention into one or more independent and dependent claims, helping them protect a portion of it if patenting the entire technology proves too complicated.

A written description of the invention, a specification sheet and any necessary drawings should all be included in a non-provisional application. Attorneys also advise conducting an extensive search of prior art prior to filing for non-provisional status.

Throughout the non-provisional application process, you’ll have an opportunity to communicate with the examiner and address any rejections or objections they issue. Doing so can help avoid rejections and objections and potentially increase your chances of receiving a patent.

Therefore, it’s essential to submit your non-provisional application in a timely manner. Failure to do so could result in denial or delay of your application, costing both time and money.

On average, the USPTO takes around 1.5 years to examine a patent application. This period is significantly shorter for provisional applications which never reach the queue for review.

Therefore, filing a non-provisional application before the 12-month provisional application period expires is recommended to guarantee your patent eligibility. If you have any queries about this process, feel free to reach out to an UpCounsel lawyer for assistance.

UpCounsel lawyers possess extensive expertise with the USPTO, and can guide you through the process of securing patent protection for your invention. Their legal services span across various industries such as technology, healthcare, and life sciences.

Many inventors opt to submit a provisional application first in order to guarantee a filing date. Doing so allows them to avoid the higher cost of non-provisional applications and determine if manufacturers are interested in producing their invention. Furthermore, this helps them assess if investing in patent protection is worth it.