Provisional patent applications (or PPAs) are mentioned a lot online and definitely have a place. A lot of times independent inventors like PPAs because of the lower attorney fees and filing fees. However, you may be surprised to learn that large companies also use PPAs for certain situations.
What is a provisional patent application?
- A provisional patent application is simply a temporary utility patent application filing that serves as a placeholder for a later filed non-provisional utility patent application. Provisional patent applications expire after one year.
Do provisional patent applications provide "Patent Pending" status?
- Yes, a provisional patent application provides patent pending status as to the invention that is shown and described in the provisional patent application.
When should I use a provisional patent application?
- In general, there are three main scenarios in which I recommend provisional patent applications. However, this is general information and not legal advice for your specific situation. In order to know if a provisional patent application is right for you, you need the advice of a patent attorney or agent.
- "The 11th Hour" - this is the scenario where I typically get a call in the afternoon and the client is going to a tradeshow in the morning and has not put a patent application on file for the new product being shown at the tradeshow and we need to hustle and get something on file fast. Provisional patent applications have less formal requirements and therefore are well suited to a fast filing with informal drawings, etc.
- "Still in the Oven" - this is the situation in which the invention is fairly well-developed, but may still be evolving. A provisional patent application can be helpful for establishing a filing date for the invention as it currently is and also provides the opportunity to revise and add to the application at non-provisional filing time.
- "Budget Constraints" - sometimes it just comes down to the available budget. This is true for individuals on up to large corporations. Everyone has finite resources they are working with. Provisional patent applications typically have lower attorney fees and official filing fees.
How much do provisional patent applications cost?
- The legal fees for a provisional vary depending on the complexity of the invention, but typically range from $2,500 - $3,500. The filing fees for a provisional patent application as of June 2021 are $75 for a micro entity and $150 for a small entity. The Patent Office changes fees regularly, so the filing fees may be different when you actually file.
How long does it take for a provisional patent to be granted?
- Provisional patent applications are not examined and do not issue as patents. They simply sit in the patent office files and wait for a non-provisional application to be filed.
How long do provisional patents last?
- Provisional patent applications are pending for one year from the filing date.
What types of inventions can be protected with a provisional patent application?
- Provisional patent applications are a type of utility patent application, which can cover products, methods and processes, and chemical compositions. Provisional patent applications are not used for inventions where the invention is the appearance of the product.
Have other questions or ready to get started? Give us a call or shoot us an email. We'd be happy to discuss helping you with a provisional patent application (PPA).
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