Obtaining a U.S. patent is a lengthy and complicated process. Provisional patent applications give inventors temporary protection for their intellectual property. Once you file a provisional application, you can continue to fine-tune the idea, seek investors and test the market - without fear that your competitors will beat you to it.
However, a provisional patent application does not, by itself, result in issuance of a patent. The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) does not examine provisional applications on their merits. To obtain a patent and claim the benefits of the provisional application, you must file a nonprovisional application within 12 months.
At the Eldredge Law Firm, we assist clients with both provisional and nonprovisional patent applications. Our attorneys bring strong backgrounds in science and law to their accomplished patent law practice. Call 800-653-6423 to discuss the patentability of your idea with a member of our firm.
Why Consider A Provisional Application?
Filing a provisional patent application offers several benefits to inventors. It allows you to hone the invention and pursue a nonprovisional application while safeguarding the idea from competitors. It allows you to claim "patent pending" status and establish an early filing date. If you are considering pursuing a patent in another country, this early filing date may be critical to preserving your rights.
From a financial perspective, a provisional application involves far lower costs upfront than a nonprovisional patent. It gives you the ability to "test the waters" before plunging into the greater expense involved in a nonprovisional patent.
Make The Right Choice
Deciding between a provisional and nonprovisional patent involves many strategic considerations. For one thing, provisional applications are available only for utility patents. Those seeking design patents should pursue the nonprovisional application. Additionally, given the 12-month expiration of a provisional patent, it is important to assess timing considerations.
Although a provisional patent application is not as intensive as a nonprovisional application, it still requires thought and planning.
An insufficiently detailed provisional application may prevent you from later claiming its benefits.
Lay the groundwork for a successful application. Meet with a lawyer in the City area for a free initial consultation.