One of the more interesting features of U.S. intellectual property law is the option for a Provisional Patent Application. Sometimes erroneously called a provisional patent, it is not a patent at all, but an option for inventors to begin the process of securing their patent rights in advance. It also prevents jeopardizing their patentability rights if, for example, they reveal their inventions publicly or the eligibility for patenting expires.

Get started Create Your Provisional Patent Application Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.

What Is a Provisional Patent Application?

A Provisional Patent Application is submitted to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) within 12 months of disclosing the invention to the public, regardless of whether it was published, demonstrated, sold or otherwise. Once accepted, the applicant may use the term "patent pending" in conjunction with the invention’s descriptions. Should the patent be ultimately granted, they will enjoy a patent term starting from the date of filing the Provisional Patent Application. Note that this will add months to the term, equal to the amount of time that passed between filing the provisional and the actual patent application.

How Is It Different from a Non Provisional Patent Application?

When a Provisional Application is submitted to the USPTO, the applicant has 12 months to submit the actual Non-Provisional Patent Application. Then, and only then, will the USPTO examine the application in order to grant the patent. If that term is up, no application is submitted and another provisional application isn't filed, the application expires. Often, the patentability of the device expires as well if the device was disclosed to the public more than 12 months before the Provisional Application expired.

Get started Create Your Provisional Patent Application Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.

Get started Create Your Provisional Patent Application Answer a few questions. We'll take care of the rest.