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 $220 for large entities and $110 for small 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.