Independent inventors often face the vexing issue of showing their inventions to potential manufacturers without the risk of the manufacturer stealing their invention. Luckily, Congress authorized a procedure to offer protection for new inventions the provisional patent application.
The Traditional Approach To Protecting Inventions
On the 16th of March 2013, the United States adopted the first-to-file system. Under the system, the inventor that files the application first gets the patent. Before this date, inventors could document the creation and testing process to prove an earlier date of invention. Under this new law, this is no longer possible.
However, an inventor can still file a patent application and label it as patent pending before they shop it around. Few manufacturers can risk ripping of an invention if they know that they can face a patent infringement notice if the patent is issued. Unfortunately, filing of the regular patent application takes a lot of effort and can be quite expensive.
The Solution: Get a US provisional patent
Congress provides inventors with another option filing a provisional patent application. Filing a provisional patent application lets the inventor claim a patent pending status for the invention for a period of 12 months but involves a small fraction of the cost and work of a regular patent application.
The provisional patent application comprises of drawings and text describing how to make and use the invention. It is a short document of around 5 to 10 pages written in plain English and free of the arcane language used in the regular patent applications.
Once you have done this, you have established an effective filing date for the invention and can now use the label patent pending on the invention.
How The Provisional Patent Application Differs From The Regular Patent Application
It is cheaper The cost of the provisional patent application ranges from $65 to $ 260 while a regular patent application can cost up to several thousand dollars.
It is easier with the provisional patent application, because you get to skip some of the complications involved in regular patent applications such as the Patent Application Declaration as well as the Information Disclosure Statement.
The provisional patent application by itself will not get you a patent. It only allows you to preserve your rights while you make the decision whether to file for a regular patent or not. If you wish to file for the regular patent and its associated benefits, you have to file a regular application within 12 months after you have filed your provisional application and the patent requires approval by the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
In conclusion, this article has looked at what a provisional patent application is and how to get a US provisional patent. The provisional patent offers many benefits to inventors the main one being protecting their ideas using minimal resources. If you wish to file a provisional patent application, choose an experienced patent attorney to help you do it in the proper way so that you can enjoy all the benefits that patenting comes with.