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Filing a Provisional Application for Patent

Advantages of Filing a Provisional Application

  • establishes an earlier filing date for up to one year
  • provides simplified filing (patent claims, oath or declaration, and disclosure of prior art not required)
  • 12-month pendency period allows you to assess the invention's commercial potential
  • permits authorized use of "patent pending" for 12 months in connection with description of the invention
  • begins Paris Convention priority year

- United States Patent and Trademark Office. (2015) Provisional Application for Patent.

Disadvantages of Filing a Provisional Application

  • must satisfy 35 USC §112(a) with respect to a later-claimed invention in order to provide any benefit of priority
  • the various claims of later-filed utility application may have different priority dates based on multiple provisional application filing dates, which must be evaluated and considered
  • examination is delayed up to one year (until non-provisional application is examined)
  • content must be evaluated for adequacy of disclosure to support the claim for priority

Provisional Application Requirements

  • Provisional Application Filing Fee (6th on the list)
  • Provisional Application Cover Sheet
    • name(s) of all inventors
    • inventor residence(s)
    • title of the invention
    • name and registration number of attorney or agent and docket number (if applicable)
    • correspondence address
    • any U.S. Government agency that has a property interest in the application (if applicable)
  • Specifications (a written description complying with 35 USC §112(a) (p. L-24)
  • Drawings (when necessary) to understand the invention (complying 35 USC §113(a) (p. L-25)
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