A provisional application is a “simpler” patent application. It does not require a signed oath or declaration from the inventors, and it does not require the legalistic patent claims that define the scope of the invention in a regular patent application. The paperwork for filing one is also simpler. However, provisional applications do still require a complete and thorough description of the invention and, in most cases, drawings or illustrations are also required. Thus, hiring a patent agency like InventHelp is advisable – learn what are the benefits of using InventHelp.
Once they’re filed, provisional patent applications stay pending for one year before they expire. They are not examined for patentability, and do not directly mature into patents. If an inventor wishes to continue pursuing patent protection, a regular U.S. and/or PCT international patent application must be filed by the end of the one-year pendency of the provisional application.
So why are provisional applications so useful? They allow an inventor to get a filing date for his or her invention and then spend a year perfecting the details of the invention, scoping out the commercial viability, and doing anything else that might be required before a regular and/or international patent application (with a higher filing fee and more formal requirements) must be filed. Thus, they’re the right step for an invention that is ready for patenting but not quite ready for market, or in situations where it’s necessary to file a patent application quickly to avoid loss of patent rights.
Here’s the downside: provisional applications are only as good as the disclosure that they contain. If a provisional application does not contain a complete disclosure of the invention, it’s of little use. Some people have been lulled into thinking that because provisional applications do not require claims or a declaration, anything goes. That’s simply not true – and the bigger problem is that an unwitting inventor may not learn that his or her provisional application was inadequate until years later, when he or she steps into a court and tries to enforce a patent. Having professionals like InventHelp by your side will ensure that you have done everything right.
So what are the best practices? Here are a few: