Why You Should File a US Provisional Patents Application

Since June 1995, the United States Patent and Trademark Office has offered inventors the option of filing a provisional patent application. This provisional application was created as an affordable first patent filing in America.

Congress created a provisional application in order to address this disadvantage for inventors who lived abroad, which allows anyone to file without being limited by geography and locks in your priority date without starting the patent term clock like a foreign application would do.


Patentability is the legal right to guard an invention or idea from being misused without authorization. It also serves to keep inventors financially independent by not allowing others to utilize their creation without compensation.

Generally, an invention is patentable if it is novel, non-obvious and useful. However, there are exceptions to this rule.

Provisional applications are a special type of US patent application that have been available since 1995. These applications do not undergo the same thorough review process as non-provisional patents.

Thus, these applications tend to be less costly to prepare than regular patent applications due to fewer formal requirements.

Additionally, this means a patent attorney or agent can focus on disclosing an invention rather than crafting full claims for non-provisional applications, which can be more costly to complete.

Another advantage of a provisional application is that it can be filed promptly after an invention has been created and disclosed. This may be particularly helpful in situations where there are statutory conditions of patentability which must expire before non-provisional applications can be filed.

Another time when the earliest filing date of a provisional application is important is when public disclosures of an invention could affect its patentability in countries outside of the U.S. that require complete or absolute novelty to grant protection.

Therefore, it is essential to thoroughly research the advantages and limitations of a us provisional patent before making your decision whether or not to pursue this form of protection for your invention. You should also consult an attorney or agent experienced in both obtaining and enforcing patents before making any final decisions regarding its future direction.


Filing for a patent application can be quite complex, necessitating the assistance of an experienced attorney. Fortunately, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) offers an affordable first patent filing option called a provisional patent application to inventors who wish to secure protection but haven’t yet developed their technology.

Provisional patent applications serve to establish a filing date and act as placeholders for later filing of regular utility patent applications. It’s essential to remember that provisional patents do not offer complete patent protection; if you decide to pursue non-provisional patent rights, then you must file them within 12 months of your provisional patent application.

If you don’t file your non-provisional application within 12 months of receiving your provisional patent, its priority date will be forfeited. On the one-year anniversary of that same provisional patent, however, filing a non-provisional application allows for an extension of up to one additional year from its original priority date.

Filing a provisional application requires answering some legal questions about your invention. These answers, known as the written description and enablement requirements, must be comprehensive enough to grant priority date status to your invention.

Your written description should provide a thorough overview of your invention and its relation to prior art. It must also provide enough detail so others may be able to reproduce or utilize your creation.

Be sure to include all materials necessary for describing your invention, such as theses, manuscripts and research reports. These can be combined with other documents to provide a thorough account of the invention.


Provisional patent applications (PPAs), commonly referred to as PPAs, are an inexpensive way for inventors who don’t have the resources to submit non-provisional applications. With PPAs, filing an application with the USPTO only costs a nominal fee and takes only minutes, making them an attractive option for those without enough resources to file non-provisional patent applications.

The cost of filing a Patent Protection Application (PPA) varies based on the invention and whether you hire a patent attorney to prepare it.

An attorney may charge anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000 in fees for preparing and filing your patent application. These costs cover research, planning, drafting, as well as communication with the USPTO.

Although hiring an attorney to prepare your PPA application can be costly, it’s often the best option. A reliable attorney will guarantee your application is properly written, filed on time with all necessary documents and information included.

Some attorneys charge a flat rate for preparing and filing a PPA, while others offer hourly fees. It’s essential to understand what you’re paying for and how much work will be involved before agreeing to anything.

The USPTO’s fee schedule is constantly in flux, so make sure to check the most up-to-date pricing before beginning work. You can find all of the most up-to-date information on their website.

Although government fees tend to be reasonable, it’s important to remember that you never need to pay more than necessary. This is especially true for micro entities which qualify for a 75% discount on most USPTO fees.

Due to this, it’s essential to be wary of discount providers who claim they are patent lawyers or agents but actually provide inferior work. While these companies may offer lower prices, you cannot guarantee they will do the job correctly or on time.

Prior art

Prior art refers to any evidence that an invention or idea has been described in publications, patents, patent applications, technical and academic papers, books, articles, websites, products available for purchase, marketing information (oral or written), traditional knowledge (oral or written), as well as any other documentation. This also includes disclosures in the form of physical products like videos and photographs even if they are only available in one language and country.

Practically, the effective filing date of a patent application removes prior art that was made public before your invention’s filing date, making it essential to file your patent application before someone else does. Furthermore, documents published after your patent’s effective filing date could potentially be used as evidence against novelty or non-obviousness claims made during litigation.

Common forms of prior art include existing products, patents and published patent applications. However, a product that was never submitted to a patent office or patented, as well as an invention invented centuries ago can all be considered prior art.

Many inventors mistakenly assume that prior art only pertains to products already on the market that incorporate their invention. But in reality, many innovations never become products.

To determine whether your invention is truly new, it’s essential to search beyond products. Your search should encompass everything that might be considered prior art – from cave paintings to centuries-old technology.

Preventing new matter rejection with a well-crafted provisional application that clearly and comprehensively describes your invention is key. Furthermore, make sure the drawings you supply are detailed, precise and technically sound; without these elements, your application could be rejected due to lack of full description and lose its filing date.


If your product is ready to be patented, file a provisional patent application as soon as possible. Doing this will give you instant protection while working to complete more detailed and expensive non-provisional paperwork.

To file for a provisional patent in the United States, you must fill out a “provisional patent cover sheet” form and pay an applicable filing fee. This cover sheet identifies the inventors, their invention title, contact information for correspondence and requires signature approval.

Once the patent office receives your US provisional application, it will review it and potentially request additional information from you. Typically, this process takes around 21 months.

You can expedite this process by filing for expedited processing, which puts your application at the front of the examination queue. While it’s a pay-for-service option and will cost you some extra money, it could reduce the time to get an initial office action by up to two or three years.

Once your patent application has been reviewed by the USPTO, you will be informed whether or not it is valid. If so, you will receive a Notice of Allowance which grants you exclusive patent protection over your invention.

The patent process can take a while, but ultimately pays off when your invention is granted protection. If not, you have the option to appeal the decision of the patent office either to an appeal board or U.S. courts and ask that they uphold your claim allowance.

It is essential to remember that a patent application filed as a provisional patent will expire one year earlier than if filed directly in an ordinary U.S. patent application. Therefore, any new subject matter should be added to the regular patent application before this deadline in order to receive higher priority dates.