A provisional patent application is a type of patent application, and additional steps are required before a patent can be granted for the invention it describes. However, a provisional application provides a lot of bang for the buck. Every inventor, from the cash-strapped garage inventor to the multinational company, can use provisional patent applications as part of their innovation strategy. In the race from idea to invention to product, other inventors are likely present. For years, the U.S. was a first-to-invent system, meaning if two applicants filed for patents at the same time, the one able to prove earliest inventorship would win. However, the U.S. is now a first-to-file system, meaning the first inventor to file a patent application will prevail, so filing as soon as you have an invention is vital. Because filing requirements are minimal, a provisional application can be filed quickly, earning you a filing date and the ability to describe your invention as “patent pending.” No later than one year from the filing date, the provisional application must convert to a utility application to keep it moving toward a granted patent. Unlike a provisional application, the USPTO has strict standards for formatting, drawings, and claim language of […]
When should I file a provisional patent application?
When should I consider a provisional application? Imminent public disclosure: It’s best to have a patent application on file before talking to a third party about or offering the invention for sale. If you have a meeting scheduled and don’t have time to get an application together or otherwise aren’t ready to do a utility application, then a provisional is a good choice. Past public disclosure or offer for sale: If you have already offered your invention for sale or had another public disclosure, contact a patent attorney or agent right away! That disclosure created a filing deadline, and if you wait too long you will miss the chance to apply for a patent. A provisional application can be used to get an application on file quickly when there is an imminent deadline. Deferring costs: A provisional application gets you a filing date, but there is still effort and expense in store before you get a patent certificate. A provisional application won’t save money in the long run since the utility filing fees will ultimately need to be paid, but it does defer costs while you are marketing the invention or seeking funding to develop it further. Ongoing development: It is permissible to add […]
What does a provisional patent application cost?
As of April 2020, the provisional filing fee is $70-$280 and a utility application typically costs $430-$1,720, depending on the size of the entity that is filing. These are the fees the USPTO charges for filing, excluding patent attorney or agent drafting fees. While these numbers make a provisional application look more attractive compared to a utility application, keep in mind that a provisional application defers the costs of a utility application. The provisional application must be converted to a utility application no later than one year after the provisional filing date to keep the application progressing toward a granted patent. The definitions of micro, small, and large entity are too involved to include here. Contact me for more information. Provisional Utility Micro entity $70 $430 Small entity $140 $860 Large entity $280 $1,720 Costs of a provisional patent application. Next steps While an optional step towards a granted patent, a provisional patent application can secure you an earlier filing date while leaving options for refining the invention and delaying the expense of a utility application. This is a powerful tool provided by the USPTO! Continue learning about provisional patent applications with What is a provisional patent application? and When […]