Do I need a Provisional Patent Application (PPA)?
As an inventor, you can lay authorized claim to your invention or idea by filing a provisional patent application.
What is a Provisional Patent?
A myth! There is no such thing as a provisional patent.
It's the Provisional Patent Application (PPA) that has meaning.
The PPA is a legal document filed with the USPTO that helps you as the inventor establish an early filing date.
The PPA does not mature into an issued patent unless and until you file for a regular non-provisional patent application within one year of the PPA.
When you file the PPA there is no examination of the patentability of your invention or its conflict with prior art; that research is still incumbent on you to uncover with a patent search.
During the 12 month span of the PPA, you as the inventor have rights to claim of the invention.
So PPA's, in essence, are an amazing tool for inventors. They buy time and protection for almost no overhead. Interested? Read on...
How To File A PPA
Once filed, the provisional patent application prevents other inventors from infringing upon your claims to the capabilities of your idea; a fairly imperative step in the invention process.
Our recommendation is to file for the PPA application as early on as possible... possible meaning you have suffice information to file.
Filing a provisional application for patent requires less technical information than you might expect - and certainly fewer specifications than a full patent application.
The main three elements of a PPA are:
Generally, to file a provisional patent application for your invention or invention idea will not require a patent attorney. This doesn't mean you can't hire one if you happen to have the means, it simply infers that the provisional patent application is a fairly simple step and the process really gives you as the inventor a safety net of time as you move toward your official patent.
To get started with filing your PPA, you can use this cover sheet.
However, if you want to be cautious, and especially if this is your first embarkment into the patent world for ideas, we highly encourage you to get in touch and talk with one of our professionals who works in your niche. We offer safe advice and guidance based on your idea and your needs.
The video below can help you get started with drafting your provisional patent application.
Especially if this is your first embarkment into the patent world for ideas, we highly encourage you to get in touch and talk with one of our professionals for secure and personal guidance on the provisional and non-provisional patent process
Benefits Of Provisional Patent Applications
The provisional patent application is one of the most advantageous tools out there for inventors today. It provides a grace period where you can continue to invest in your idea and develop the materials and research you need for your official non-provisional patent.
The PPA Offers Adequate Protection
The provisional patent application grants the inventor an invaluable protection against any form of “office action” that may occur in the future.
By filing a provisional patent application, the inventor guarantees that his invention or invention idea is protected under the law, from theft, unauthorized use or replication and sales.
Within the period of the provisional patent, no other inventor can lay claim to the invention and invention idea.
Sole Ownership Of Intellectual Property
Filing a provisional patent application for an invention or invention idea grants the inventor sole ownership of the invention for a total period of 12 months.
Within this solitary year, the inventor can comfortably and securely perfect his invention or invention idea, and also get investors and partners on board, to facilitate the financing of further invention patent protection and the translation of the invention or invention idea to practice.
Hence, filing a provisional patent application gives an inventor the ideal room to continue working on supplementing, refining and perfecting his idea, prototype, or invention.
It's Easy And Cheap!
Without any formal requirement, the congress designed the application for a provisional patent to be very easy, so as to grant inventors the opportunity to make their inventions or inventive ideas available to the market.
Hence, with as little as $125 (but expect $260), an inventor can easily file a provisional patent application with the USPTO and obtain a “Patent Pending” status for their invention or invention idea.
Because the U.S patent office does not work on a provisional patent application until the inventor files a non-provisional application for his invention, there are no associated USPTO or attorney fees, apart from the initial fee payable upon filing the provisional patent application.
With a provisional patent application, an inventor can effectively sow the seed of obtaining a patent for his invention and save money in the process.
History & Facts About The Provisional Application For Patent
Summary: The Key Takeaways Of Provisional Patent Applications
It is important to note that most patents areimprovements on other patented inventions.
While there may be lots of patented inventions that are similar to your ideas when you perform a patent search, you can still sufficiently file a provisional patent application for your improved invention or invention idea.
The application must be carefully and adequately prepared; time and money is wasted otherwise.
You also need to research up front and see if someone else has filed for your idea before you. No need to file a PPA if it is already patented or already on the market.
Too many inventors rush to file and don't do any research first. It is wasted money for them, but good profit for you.
Assuming you paid the fee when you filed the provisional, then you should get a filing receipt in a couple of months.
If you didn't pay, then the patent office will send you the reminder to pay much sooner. After the filing receipt you won't get any other communication.
Provisional applications are not examined and they do not issue - meaning, as "a myth" was cited above, there is no actual plaque or certificate, etc., stating you have a provisional patent.
They are informal applications that hold your place until you are ready to file a utility, plant or design application, but not more than 12 months from the day you file the provisional.
Did you get your receipt from the patent office with your serial number on it?
If not, you can call the patent office to see if they received your application.
You can also check with your bank to see if they cashed your check.
Once you confirm that the patent has been received, you can start marketing your invention.
The provisional basically gives you 12 months to confirm that your idea has legs before you spend additional money for a utility or other application. Also, don't forget an NDA before you start disclosing your secrets.