What is a Provisional Patent Application?

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What is a Provisional Patent Application?

A provisional patent application is a document that helps protect new inventions from being copied for a period of 12 months before an inventor files a formal patent application.

Definition of Provisional Patent Application

A provisional patent application is a document issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that protects new inventions from being illegally copied for a period of 12 months before the inventor files a formal patent application.

This gives inventors more time to present an idea, consider the commercial viability, or improve the product before going through the costly formal patent application process.

The “patent pending” label on the product indicates that a provisional patent application for the invention has been submitted.

Notes:

  • The provisional patent application is the first step to receiving an official U.S. patent on a new idea or invention.
  • The “patent pending” label indicates that the product is protected from being illegally copied by a provisional patent application.
  • The provisional patent application is not an actual patent.

Features of a Provisional Patent Application

A provisional application is a short-term tool for protecting an invention that requires less effort and expense than a formal patent application.

Formal patent applications are more complicated and costly than provisional patent applications. Typically, 10 pages or less are used to explain the product’s design and purpose, along with all the necessary illustrations.

The process to obtain a provisional patent is less expensive than the formal patent process and may not require cooperation with a patent attorney.

The requirements for a provisional patent are simple, including a description of the new product and how to use it.

The benefits of a Provisional Patent Application

Obtaining a provisional patent has many benefits. First, inventors no longer have to worry about their ideas being stolen, as the “patent pending” label on the product represents certain legal rights in the event of an infringement.

Second, it allows the inventor to put their idea to the assessment process and refine it before submitting a formal patent application.

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