We all know that lawyers are expensive, and lawyers are needed to get patents, therefore, patents can get very expensive very fast.
To promote innovation in America, the United States Patent Office (USPTO) started offering inventors an option at a significantly lower price.
Here are some common questions about provisional patents that Enhance gets asked a lot:
How long is a provisional application for patent good for?
A provisional application for patent is good for 12 months.
What happens after the provisional application for patent expires?
An applicant has 12 months after filing for a provisional application for patent to apply for a non-provisional patent. If the applicant does not meet this deadline then they lose the filing date of the provisional as their ‘effective filing date’ and it can be considered abandoned.
Why do I need to file the provisional application for patent?
It is not required to file a provisional patent before filing a non-provisional patent. But, there are many benefits of doing so, especially for new inventors. One such benefit is that your date of inception is established with the USPTO even if you haven’t finalized everything regarding your idea yet. This means you have 12 months to determine your business plan, find investors, finalize your designs, or whatever your goal is with your idea, with the peace of mind that nobody can steal your idea.
Any ‘tricks’ like mailing a description of your idea to yourself to prove the date you thought of an idea, or similar tactics are unnecessary if you file for the provisional application for patent.
When should I file the provisional application for patent?
Ultimately it’s up to you to decide when to file for your provisional application for patent. We’ve found it really depends on your goals for your invention.
If your goal is to manufacture and market your idea yourself, we recommend filing right away to give you added protection when you begin interviewing potential manufacturers.
If your goal is to license your idea for another company to market for you, then we recommend filing for your provisional application for patent after product design and development is complete. We recommend this so you have the full 12 months that a provisional patent lasts to find a licensee, rather wasting any of that precious time on something you have control of- product development.
How do I get a provisional application for patent?
Any Intellectual Property attorney will be able to file a provisional patent for you.
How much does a provisional application for patent cost?
The fee to the USPTO is $125 (subject to change annually according to USPTO.gov, so call to verify the fee at 800-786-9199).
Although you can always file a provisional patent yourself, we highly recommend using a lawyer due to the complexity of what needs to be included when filing. The costs vary depending on the lawyer’s fees.