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Provisional Patent

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A provisional patent application will never itself mature into an issued patent, but in the right circumstance (and done properly) a provisional patent application can be a very useful tool for inventors. This is particularly true now that the United States is a first to file country, which absolutely must be interpreted as inventors needing to file first before.There is a great misunderstanding among many inventors and entrepreneurs regarding what many simply refer to as a provisional patent. The first thing that needs to be said is that there is no such thing as a provisional patent. Instead, what you file is called a provisional patent application. Like any other patent application, a provisional patent application is effective to stop the clock relative to so-called statutory bars and immediately upon filing a provisional patent application you can say you have a patent pending. Provisional patent applications, done properly, are a great way to take a first step toward a utility patent.

A provisional patent application is not a provisional patent. That is, it does not indicate that an idea or invention has been approved or even reviewed for a patent. The application and its protection expire after 12 months, whether or not its inventor files a full patent application.

The advantages of a provisional patent application are:

Ease of preparation

Which may have significant marketing advantages.

The ability to use the term “patent pending”, which can only be legally used when a patent application has been filed

Lower Cost

 

Here are some facts you need to know about PPAs.

  1. A PPA expires after one year.
  2. You cannot extend a PPA.
  3. You cannot renew a PPA.
  4. A PPA will never become a patent.
  5. You cannot file a PPA for a design .
  6. The USPTO(United States Patent and Trademark Office) does not examine PPAs .
  7. The USPTO does not conduct a prior art .search on PPAs
  8. The USPTO does review PPAs to make sure they meet minimum filing requirements.
  9. PPAs are not published by the USPTO (unless claimed as priority in a later-issued or published non-provisional application).
  10. You can use the term “patent pending” for the duration of the one-year pendency of a PPA.

FAQ

1.How do I file a Provisional Application for Patent?

A Provisional Application for Patent must be filed with the USPTO. This entails completing a paper or electronic application, submitting accompanying illustrations, and complying with other USPTO guidelines. LegalZoom can help make this process quick and easy. Once you answer a few questions online, we complete and file your application (or do so along with our affiliate patent firm). We can even help you obtain top-quality technical illustrations.

2.How long does a Provisional Application for Patent last?

A provisional application for patent lasts 12 months from its filing date. The USPTO will not grant extensions for any reason.

The inventor(s) must file a Non-Provisional Patent Application within that period to take advantage of the Provisional Application for Patent’s filing date. If not, the provisional application is declared abandoned and its filing date is lost.

Another Provisional Application for Patent or even a Non-Provisional Patent Application for the same invention can still be filed, just without the benefit of the earlier filing date

3.What should a provisional patent application include?

A provisional application may include any of a variety of materials (e.g., text, figures, graphs, charts, photographs) that describe the invention and how to make and use it. A provisional application should explicitly answer the following questions:

(1) What is the invention?

(2) How is the invention made?

(3) How is the invention used?

4.How many inventors can I have?

You must list at least one inventor, but it’s fine to have more. If two or more people each make a contribution to at least one concept that makes the invention patentable, then they are co-inventors. It’s a good idea to use a Joint Ownership Agreement, which will help you preserve ownership rights with co-inventors.

When you file your application through Nolo’s Online Provisional Patent Application, you will receive a sample Joint Ownership Agreement with your purchase.

A company cannot be an inventor; it has to be a real person. Even if a company owns the rights to the invention and any potential patent, you must list the actual inventor in the provisional patent application.

5.What rights does patent provide?

A patent owner has the right to decide who may – or may not – use the patented invention for the period in which the invention is protected. In other words, patent protection means that the invention cannot be commercially made, used, distributed, imported, or sold by others without the patent owner consent.

6.What can and cannot be patented?

What can be patented – utility patents are provided for a new, nonobvious and useful:

  • Process
  • Machine
  • Article of manufacture
  • Composition of matter
  • Improvement of any of the above

Note: In addition to utility patents, encompassing one of the categories above, patent protection is available for (1) ornamental design of an article of manufacture or (2) asexually reproduced plant varieties by design and plant patents.

What cannot be patented:

  • Laws of nature
  • Physical phenomena
  • Abstract ideas
  • Literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works (these can be Copyright protected). Go to the Copyright Office .
  • Inventions which are:
    • Not useful (such as perpetual motion machines); or
    • Offensive to public morality

Invention must also be:

  • Novel
  • Nonobvious
  • Adequately described or enabled (for one of ordinary skill in the art to make and use the invention)
  • Claimed by the inventor in clear and definite terms

7.Is patent valid in every country?

Patents are territorial rights. In general, the exclusive rights are only applicable in the country or region in which a patent has been filed and granted, in accordance with the law of that country or region.

8. Why are patent is useful?

Patented inventions have, in fact, pervaded every aspect of human life, from electric lighting (patents held by Edison and Swan) and plastic (patents held by Baekeland), to ballpoint pens (patents held by Biro), and microprocessors (patents held by Intel, for example).

Patents provide incentives to and protection for individuals by offering them recognition for their creativity and the possibility of material reward for their inventions. At the same time, the obligatory publication of patents and patent applications facilitates the mutually-beneficial spread of new knowledge and accelerates innovation activities by, for example, avoiding the necessity to “re-invent the wheel”.

9.How many inventors can I have?

You must list at least one inventor, but it’s fine to have more. If two or more people each make a contribution to at least one concept that makes the invention patentable, then they are co-inventors. It’s a good idea to use a Joint Ownership Agreement, which will help you preserve ownership rights with co-inventors.

When you file your application through Nolo’s Online Provisional Patent Application, you will receive a sample Joint Ownership Agreement with your purchase.

A company cannot be an inventor; it has to be a real person. Even if a company owns the rights to the invention and any potential patent, you must list the actual inventor in the provisional patent application.