Now in our 15th Year.
Legislation effective June 6, 1995 provided for the filing of Provisional Patent Applications in the US Patent Office. A provisional patent application does not need to necessarily meet all the formal requirements of a regular US application, and the filing fee is about 1/5 th of the regular fee. The invention described in a Provisional Application enjoys the status of "Patent Pending" after it is filed. Contrary to what many believe, there is no such thing as a "Provisional Patent", but rather only a "provisional patent application." After filing, a provisional patent application is received by the US Patent Office but is not examined by the patent office - it sits in a file. It will be maintained in the patent office for one year, after which time it automatically becomes abandoned ---- unless it is referred to in a filed non-provisional ("regular") US or other application filed before the one-year pendency period has expired. This interim time frame enables the inventor to do many things, such as scouting for funding, generating market interest, testing the market, seeking manufacturers, or making further developments while the initial disclosure is "patent pending". One advantage is the defraying of costs. If the invention turns out to not be such a good idea, or is not accepted by the market, then monetary investment is minimized.
When I prepare a provisional application, I only include those essential features necessary to describe the invention in a way which complies with 35 USC 112 and other requirements, as necessary for non-provisional patent applications. I also draft at least one claim , which is as broad as I can make it based upon the invention disclosure. Other sections of the patent application which are normally required for a non-provisional ("regular") application may be left out, such as the Background Information section, Brief Description of Drawings, etc. That way, later on, if one decides to file a non-provisional application based upon the provisional, then the process is additive to what was already created. This strategy is the most cost-effective way to protect an invention, in my opinion. If an invention is complex, then the cost is of course higher as was explained in our web page dealing with Costs. This is because, as stated therein, more complex inventions require more work in the preparation of the application.
Thank you for visiting.
Christopher J. Whewell
Registered Patent Agent
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