What is a provisional patent?

Have you ever seen the term “patent pending” on an invention?  “Patent Pending” means that the inventor has filed some sort of a patent application.  An invention can receive patent pending status by filing a provisional patent application.  Provisional patents last for one year from the date they are filed.  It is a lot simpler to create than a standard patent application but provisional patents come with their own requirements, advantages, and disadvantages.  Note that if you want to receive a design patent you cannot file a provisional patent.

A provisional application MUST be filed in the name of all the inventors.   Any inventors named must have contributed to the invention in some way.  Also, a provisional patent must be filed within a year of the date of the first sale, offer for sale, public use, or publication of your invention.  There are specific rules for fees and a cover sheet as well.

Provisional patent applications do not require as much information as non-provisional applications.  Provisional patent applications only need a written description of the invention and any drawings you need to understand it; you do not need to cite any prior art.  Provisional applications are reviewed for compliance with the rules but are not judged on their merits.  Once you receive a provisional patent you cannot amend your application and you have one year to file a full non-provisional application or you lose protection.

A provisional patent may be right for you if your invention is or is about to be for sale or disclosed to the public.  If you have an interest in getting a provisional patent you can contact a patent attorney at Stone Law at 732-444-6303 or leave us a message on our website.