Claiborne Patent Law Services

Provisional Patent Applications

A provisional patent application serves only to establish the filing date for the patent application and automatically becomes abandoned after one year. 

An applicant may wish to file a provisional application if the applicant is not ready to enter into the regular examination process, typically because of time or money constraints.  A provisional application establishes a filing date at a lower cost for a  first patent application filing in the United States and allows the term "Patent Pending" to be applied to the invention. 

Claims are not required in a provisional application.  Our firm's provisional patent applications always include exemplary claims, however, to serve as examples of the invention for any later filed non-provisional applications.

At least one drawing is required in a provisional patent application.  While it is not necessary to have the drawing made by an experienced patent draftsman, preparing a formal drawing for a provisional filing can save time and expense when a non-provisional patent application is filed later.

The U.S. Patent Office does not examine a provisional application and such an application cannot become a patent.  An applicant must submit the non-provisional application within one year of submitting the provisional application in order to possibly receive the benefit of the provisional application's filing date. 

The Patent Office charges a modest fee for provisional patent applications (currently $280 for large entities, $140 for small entities and $70 for micro entities).

An applicant does not have to file a provisional application before filing a non-provisional application.  Many of our clients choose to do so, however, often because provisional filing provides an interim solution for intellectual property protection prior to obtaining funding.

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