How to File a Provisional Patent in U.S (PPA)

2022-05-05

Last updated: 5 months ago

Filing provisional applications is usually the better option for inventors who want to protect their inventions quickly and are not yet ready to file a regular patent application. Read on to find out how you can file a provisional patent application.

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Introduction

When inventors have an invention, they have the option to file a provisional patent application (PPA) which gives them up to one year of patent protection. This is a cheaper and quicker way to file than a regular patent application, and it does not require as much information or detail. Inventors can also file a regular patent application (RPA) instead of a PPA, but this is more expensive and takes longer.

Therefore, filing provisional applications is usually the better option for inventors who want to protect their inventions quickly and are not yet ready to file a regular patent application. Read on to find out how you can file a provisional patent application.

Understanding Provisional Patent Applications

A provisional patent application is a type of patent application filed with the USPTO. It allows you to claim priority for your invention but does not undergo a substantive examination. You can file a provisional patent application with just an idea for an invention.

A provisional patent application is a great way to protect your invention while you are doing research and development on it. The application is cheaper and faster to file than a regular patent application, and it gives you a year to file a regular patent application.

If you decide to file a regular patent application, your provisional patent application will be abandoned. However, if you do not file a regular patent application within a year, your provisional patent application will expire, and your invention will no longer be protected.

Steps to Follow When Filing a Provisional Patent Application

The United States patent system allows inventors to file a provisional patent application to establish an early effective filing date for their invention while allowing them additional time to raise funds, further develop their invention, or pursue patent protection.

You can file patent applications yourself or with the help of a registered patent agent or attorney.

1.    Filing through the mail

Here are the steps you need to take to file a provisional patent application:

Step One: Thoroughly research your invention

The first step in filing a provisional patent application is to conduct thorough research on your invention and patent. This will help you understand the full scope of your invention and make sure that it is not already patented or being patented by someone else.

You can do this by searching the United States Patent and Trademark Office's (USPTO) patent database, called the Patent Full-Text and Image Database (PatFT).

You can also search the World Intelligent Property Organization's (WIPO) patent database to see if your invention has been patented internationally.

Step Two: Obtain Patents Information

At this point, you need to compile as much information about your invention as possible. This will include drawings, diagrams, photos of your invention, and a written description of it.

You should also clearly understand the invention's function, how it works, and any advantages it may have over existing technologies.

Step Three: Write a Cover Sheet

The next step is to write a Cover Sheet (Form SB-16), which is a document that provides the USPTO with basic information about your invention and your patent application. The Cover Sheet must include the following information:

  • Your name and contact information
  • The title of your invention
  • The date of your invention
  • A brief description of your invention
  • The name and contact information of your patent agent or attorney (if you are using one)

Step Four: Prepare a Product Description

You need to prepare a written description of your invention, also known as a specification. Ensure you include specific information such as the dimensions of your invention, how it works, and any testing or demonstrations you may have conducted.

You should also include any prior art related to your invention and explain how your invention is different.

Step Five: Review and submit your application

Once you have all of the required information and documents, you can review your application to ensure everything is in order.

If you are using a patent agent or attorney, they will also review your application to ensure it is complete and meets all the requirements.

Once everything is ready, you can submit your application to the USPTO.

The USPTO will then review your application to ensure it is complete and meets all the requirements. If everything is in order, they will issue you a filing receipt and assign you a patent application number.

You will then have one year from the date of filing to file a non-provisional patent application. After that, your provisional patent application will expire.

2.    Filing online

You can file a provisional patent application online through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). The process is simple and takes only a few minutes to complete.

Go to the USPTO website.

Click on the "Patents" tab at the top of the page.

Under 'Apply for a patent', click on the 'Get started filing online' link.

The next page will ask you to create an account. You can do this by clicking on the MyUSPTO homepage link. This will take you to 'Create a USTPO.gov account', where you can register for an account.

Once you have registered for an account, you will be able to log in and start filing your provisional patent application.

3.    Hire a professional

If you find filing provisional applications on your own to be daunting, you can always seek the help of a professional. There are many service providers who can help you with the process, and many of them offer an expedited filing option for an additional filing fee.

When choosing a service provider, be sure to do your research. Read reviews and compare the filing fees. It is also essential to ensure that the provider you choose is reputable and has a good track record.

RELATED ARTICLE: Protecting Intellectual Property: A Complete Guide

Conclusion

So that's all! Filing for a provisional patent is not difficult, but it does require some paperwork and a little bit of research. If you have an invention that you think is patentable, filing a provisional patent is a good way to protect your invention while you work on developing it further.

Follow these steps, and you'll be on your way to filing for a provisional patent application. Remember, it's always a good idea to consult with a patent attorney to ensure you're doing everything correctly and get help with the actual application. But if you want to do it yourself, this guide should help you get started.


FAQs Section

Q: Can I file a provisional patent on my own?

A: Yes, you can file a provisional patent on your own. However, we recommend that you consult with a patent attorney before doing so.

Q: What is the difference between a provisional and non-provisional patent?

A: A provisional patent expires after one year, while a non-provisional patent does not. Provisional patents are also not examined, while non-provisional patents are. Finally, a provisional patent gives the inventor "patent pending" status, while a non-provisional patent does not.

Q: Do I need a provisional patent if I already have a non-provisional patent?

A: No, you do not need a provisional patent if you already have a non-provisional patent. However, you may want to file a provisional patent if you are still making changes to your invention and are not ready to file a non-provisional patent.


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