How to File: Application Basics


In addition to the regular patent application procedure, it is possible to file what is called a provisional patent application. A provisional patent application can be thought of as a placeholder application. It has many of the advantages of a regularly filed, nonprovisional patent application, but it differs in at least two important ways.

The Many Advantages of Provisional Filings

The reduced formality threshold of provisional patent application filings offers a number of significant advantages to the inventor and entrepreneur.

Who Might Use Provisional Patents

Technology giants such as Hewlett-Packard and Apple Computer testify to the results that inspiration and tenacity can create from the most humble beginnings.

Limitations of a Provisional Patent Filing

Despite all the positive benefits of filing a provisional patent application, the lessened formality requirements tend to have the detrimental effect of reducing the amount of attention paid to actually preparing and filing the application.

Beware of Marketing Companies

There is a cottage industry in the United States in which invention promotion companies solicit submissions by inventors and promise to help exploit and find purchasers for their inventions.

Who Is An Inventor?

At first blush, identifying an inventor should be a pretty easy task. Clearly it is someone who invents—the innovator of something new, useful, and nonobvious. But, what if two people collaborate on an invention? Are both considered inventors?

What Is A Filing Date?

A provisional patent application receives a filing date, once the application is submitted, only if it contains both a written description of the invention and any drawings necessary to understand the invention.

What About Filing Deadlines?

In addition to the limitations on patentable subject matter, the patent laws of the United States also prohibit granting patents on otherwise patentable inventions due to certain occurrences, known as barring events.

Filing Your Application Read more›


For more information on this process, download the free e-book or fill out the form on this page and let us quote your application.

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