Best Practices For Dependable Provisional Patent Application

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A provisional patent application (PPA) is temporary protection for an idea or invention before acquiring a proper patent. It helps in securing time to refine your creation while keeping it under the aegis of a ‘pending patent’ status. Given the informal nature and easy application process of the PPA, businesses commit the mistake of not paying adequate attention when filing it. This can prove a costly error in the long run. Read on to know more about the risks of a cheap provisional patent application. 

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PPA Filing Requirements   

PPAs are granted by the USPTO and last for a period of one year. They are instrumental in securing a filing date for your patent. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), lays down the following requirements for filing a Provisional Patent Application: 

  • A written, detailed description of the invention 
  • Illustrations or drawings supporting the invention 
  • Text to describe the drawings 
  • Names of all the inventors 
  • Your lawyer’s name and contact information 
  • A cover sheet 

Importance Of A PPA 

While PPAs are an optional step, they can be quite valuable under certain circumstances. Some of the advantages of applying for a PPA are: 

  1. They are a useful tool for small businesses and start-ups looking to invite investments and funding. The ‘patent pending’ status is an attractive asset to own when presenting your idea to investors.   
  2. They are helpful in extending the life of a patent. Some companies draft the final patent application and submit it as a PPA. At the end of one year, they resubmit the application as a regular non-provisional patent. This grants them an extra year of protection. 
  3. They help in buying time to write a robust patent application with fewer chances of rejection. The disclosure makes your idea safe while you get additional time to conduct prior art and other relevant searches to foolproof your application.  

Why Does A PPA Merit Your Attention 

A Provisional Patent Application is a relevant document when you wish to convert your invention into a proper patent. However, a hastily drafted or cheap provisional patent application may hurt your chances of doing so. Because a PPA does not have rigid requirements, format, or requirement of a claim businesses submit incomplete or bare-bones applications that offer no security.  

For it to be considered valuable a Provisional Patent Application must emphasize the level of detailing used to describe the invention. The illustrations and photographs must be clear and plenty. Care must be taken to describe them in great detail to show how the article works or can be used. Focus on the unique features and center the application around them.  

Insufficient disclosure is the risk that accompanies an incomplete or cheap provisional patent application. If you fail to mention key features of the invention, another business may file an application for those and you miss out on the chance of patenting it. The USPTO does not allow adding any new details to an already filed PPA. Also, if you wish to benefit from a PPA, the claimed subject matter carried in it must support that of the non-provisional patent application.

So, if you forgot to list out an important detail, there’s no going back and correcting the blunder.

Things To Remember For The Ideal PPA  

  1. It is not a rough draft. The scope of the invention must be precisely cited in the application. Avoid words like “must-have” “consists” “essential” that limit the scope of the detail, and instead, try to keep the scope as broad as possible.  
  2. Keep the title easy and simple. It should not be more than 15 words and be easily searchable by third parties during patentability search 
  3. Always state the use and applicability of your invention in detail. Depict how it helps in solving a problem in a step-by-step manner. Also, give an example of its intended usage.  
  4. While Provisional Patent Applications do not require claims to be specified, it is best practice to include at least one when drafting the application. Doing so will support your non-provisional application better and rule out competitors from taking advantage.   
  5. Ensure that the drawings are high quality. This expands the disclosure of your invention. It also covers you in case you forget to write about an important detail but have represented it in the drawings. 
  6. Never make a provisional patent application cheap by hiring inexperienced services. Consider this the first step to your dream of acquiring a patent. Botching up during the initial stages can hamper your chances of securing a patent or cause further delay. 

Conclusion

A good Provisional Patent Application is one that can be easily converted into a non-provisional one. A professional PPA drafted by an expert stands out in the crowd.  Not only does it instill confidence in the owner but is also a lucrative proposition to investors/potential partners. Time is of critical essence during the patent application process. 

An inadequate Provisional Patent Application can set you back further in the timeline. It is therefore highly recommended to avail the services of experienced patent attorneys to draft the application and avoid any chance of errors.   

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