Provisional Application for a PatentFrom the USPTO Website - Free Help For Inventors.

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Help for the small inventor - a provisional patent application is a method of getting an extra year before having to actually file a provisional patent.






Provisional Application For A Patent From The USPTO Website

Provisional Application for a Patent

Since June 8, 1995, the USPTO has offered inventors the option of filing a provisional application for a patent which was designed to provide a lower cost first patent filing in the United States and to give U.S. applicants parity with foreign applicants. Claims and oath or declaration are NOT required for a provisional application.

Provisional application provides the means to establish an early effective filing date in a patent application and permits the term "Patent Pending" to be applied in connection with the invention. Provisional applications may not be filed for design inventions. 

The filing date of a provisional application is the date on which a written description of the invention, drawings if necessary, and the name of the inventor(s) are received in the USPTO. To be complete, a provisional application must also include the filing fee, and a cover sheet specifying that the application is a provisional application for patent. The applicant would then have up to 12 months to file a non-provisional application for patent as described above.

The claimed subject matter in the later filed non-provisional application is entitled to the benefit of the filing date of the provisional application if it has support in the provisional application. If a provisional application is not filed in English, then any non-provisional application claiming priority to the provisional application must have a translation of the provisional application filed therein. See title 37, Code of Federal Regulations, Section 1.78(a)(5). 

Provisional applications are NOT examined on their merits. A provisional application will become abandoned by the operation of law 12 months from its filing date. The 12-month pendency for a provisional application is not counted toward the 20-year term of a patent granted on a subsequently filed non-provisional application which relies on the filing date of the provisional application. 

A surcharge is required for filing the basic filing fee or the cover sheet on a date later than the filing of the provisional application. 

A brochure on Provisional Application for Patent is available by calling the USPTO General Information Services at 1-800-786-9199 or 703-308-4357 or by accessing USPTO's Web site at 


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