A patent is the exclusive right an individual or entity is granted by the United State Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for an innovation or invention. Provisional patents are basic, low-cost patents that are thought of as the first tentative step for filing a non-provisional patent.
Nearly half a million general patents are filed every single year. Plenty of these patents are denied due to issues that arise, which could have been prevented during a provisional phase in the patent filing process. Provisional patents are also not examined by the USPTO, but they can claim certain benefits of regular patents.
One of the main reasons provisional patents are filed is known as the “first to file” concept. This is a kind of speculative patenting in the hopes that an individual or entity is the first to file a patent on an invention or innovation so as to reap the rewards of being able to proceed in filing a regular patent. If there is a new and emerging technology, many innovators may want to file one in the hopes of staking the first claim on a particular invention, design or innovation.
Why Should I File a Provisional Patent?
There are various reasons why an individual may choose to file a provisional patent before filing a normal, non-provisional patent. They are a low-cost alternative to general patents and have a one-year grace period from the date the invention was first sold, publicly used, or publication.
Filing a provisional patent is also less taxing than filing a general utility, design, or plant patent. There are no claims, oath/declaration, or disclosure statement involved in filing this kind of patent. This means you do not have to reveal your “trade secret” until you file for a regular patent, if you choose to file for one. There is also no obligation to file for a regular utility, design, or plant patent.
There are certain requirements that have to be met when filing for a provisional patent. There must be a description of the invention disclosed in the application; although, you do not need to propose or conclude with any claims. They should also include drawings necessary to fully comprehend the innovation, as well as all of the names of the inventors. Last but not least, there is an application fee that must be met when applying for the provisional patent.
Basic Concerns Involving Provisional Patents
When filing a provisional patent, there are several things you should keep in mind. Does filing one serve you better than filing a general patent? Is it worthwhile filing for one? Am I filing it for a legitimate reason? Does filing for a provisional patent hurt my chances for filing a regular patent? All of these concerns are legitimate and should be given adequate consideration.