15 Tips: Should You File a Provisional Application for Patent?
15 Tips: Should You File a Provisional Application for Patent?
The process of applying for a patent can be quite confusing because the USPTO gives you four different options when it comes to filing a patent application as outlined over at runrex.com. With the options provided, most people find themselves asking themselves if whether to file for a Provisional Application for Patent or a Non-Provisional Patent Application. This article will try and make this decision easier by highlighting 15 tips on whether you should file a Provisional Application for Patent.
- What is a Provisional Application for Patent?
Also referred to as a Provisional Patent Application, PPA, a Provisional Application for Patent is a form of a patent application that can be used before the filing of a full utility application as outlined over at guttulus.com. It is a temporary placeholder application that allows an inventor to establish the filing date of their invention with the USPTO.
- The usefulness of a provisional application
According to runrex.com, provisional applications are very useful because a later-filed application can claim “priority” to a provisional application, and by so doing claiming the filing date of the provisional application as its own filing date.
- Why are the early filing dates important?
If you are wondering why early filing dates are important, then it is because the US is a first-to-file country, as explained over at guttulus.com, which means that whoever files first is given the priority. However, to make this claim of priority and take advantage of a provisional application, the non-provisional must be filed within one year of the PPA, which must also fully describe the invention being claimed in the later-filed NPA.
- Provisional Patent Applications never turn into a patent
As already mentioned earlier, Provisional Patent Applications will be abandoned twelve months after they are filed, and are, as such, never examined by the Patent Office. As a result of this, the Provisional Patent Application never becomes a patent by itself and will always be useless unless followed by a Non-Provisional Patent Application within one year as covered over at runrex.com.
Why then bother with a PPA if it never turns into a patent? Well, the following tips will outline reasons for filing a Provisional Application for Patent.
- Grants patent term extension
US law states that a patent expires 20 years from the date on which the first Non-Provisional Patent Application was filed. This means that the filing date of a provisional patent doesn’t determine the expiry date of the patent, which means that filing a provisional patent grants the extension of the term of a patent by a maximum of one year.
- Delays examination
Also, as already mentioned and discussed over at guttulus.com, Provisional Patent Applications are never examined by the Patent Office, and, therefore, the process of starting with a provisional application and following it a year later with a Non-Provisional Patent Application will delay examination by the Patent Office for one year. Therefore, if you have reasons to avoid examination, then filing PPA is the way to go.
- Grants patent pending status
As outlined over at runrex.com, once a patent application is on file with the USPTO, whether it is provisional or nonprovisional, then the applicant is entitled to use the phrase “patent pending” or products or services covered by the application. Filing a Provisional Patent Application offers one the ability to cheaply and quickly get “patent pending” status.
- Delays the cost of a Non-Provisional Application
As captured in discussions on the same over at guttulus.com, provisional applications and their filings can be quite inexpensive compared to the cost of filing a Non-Provisional Patent Application. Therefore, if you don’t have the money to file an NPA, you will be better served filing a PPA rather than doing nothing or waiting for the funds for an NPA to be available.
- Grants time to investigate the value of the invention
As pointed out by the experts over at runrex.com, unfortunately, the majority of inventions made by individual inventors are usually not profitable or commercially viable for them. Filing for a PPA will, therefore, reduce upfront costs and afford you as the inventor one year before you need to file an NPA. You can use this time to determine whether your invention has value in the marketplace, and you can decide whether or not to proceed with an NPA based on the results of your investigations.
- Provides documentation for competitive or defensive purposes
A PPA can also be used to formally document your company’s technical developments as of a particular date for competitive or defensive purposes. For example, your provisional application can serve as prior art against a competitor’s later-filed patent application which means that whether or not you end up getting a patent, your provisional patent may prevent your competitor from getting a patent that covers your invention or technology.
- Enables one to work within significant time constraints
Given that, as outlined over at guttulus.com, PPAs require virtually no formatting requirements to file, it means that a provisional application can often be prepared and filed more quickly than an NPA. If you find yourself having to move quickly and file a patent application ahead of a fast-approaching public presentation, demo, or an upcoming product announcement, then a provisional application can be very helpful.
- Grants time to refine your idea
Just as PPAs grant inventors time to assess the value of their invention, they also grant them the time to refine their idea. This is because, as covered over at runrex.com, PPAs can be updated and re-filed multiple times over the permitted one year to create a series of provisional applications, allow you to capture incremental improvements during the R&D process. additionally, you will be able to preserve your work’s confidentiality as provisional applications are not published.
These are just some of the benefits to be had for filing a Provisional Application for Patent.
- Can you prepare and file a PPA without an attorney?
Another question people ask is if they can prepare and file a Provisional Patent Application without an attorney, and the simple answer is yes. This is because, as discussed over at guttulus.com, PPAs don’t need to include claims which are usually the most complex and difficult part of a patent application. PPAs are also never examined by the Patent Office and are also never published so you don’t have to worry about proper formatting or organization.
- Can you file more than one Provisional Patent Application?
According to runrex.com, there are certain circumstances where you can file more than one PPA. For example, if the inventive work on a product is not yet finished, multiple PPAs can be filed each time a new milestone is reached or each time a new inventive element is developed. This means you don’t have to either pay for multiple non-provisional applications or delay a patent filing on each iterative improvement.
- Common mistakes when filing a Provisional Patent Application
While PPAs offer lots of benefits as already discussed, it is also important that you are aware of the common mistakes if you are planning to file one. They include:
- Failure to budget for a Non-Provisional Patent Application. Remember, your provisional application cannot mature into an actual patent without a non-provisional application being filed within 12 months. Therefore, when filing for a PPA, you should prepare and budget for the eventual NPA.
- Submitting an inadequate application. You will only benefit from your PPA if you adequately describe the invention in your application. A provisional application is only as valuable as the content included in the filing, and the more the details, the more valuable it will be.
- Feeling a false sense of security. You should also not be lulled into waiting the full year to file an NPA as this could expose the application to more prior art against claims that were not adequately supported by the provisional filing.
The above discussion only just begins to scratch the surface as far as this topic is concerned and you can uncover more insights by checking out the highly regarded runrex.com and guttulus.com.