How To Draft A Provisional Patent Application

Provisional patent applications are often seen in two lights – either as the “hack” version of a patent, or simply a “gateway patent” until an official patent application can be filed. While there are merits to both claims, it depends not on which is true, but rather how the applicant files the application and what its intended use is. Obtaining a utility patent for an invention is a very long process. It is no surprise then, that inventors often turn to provisional patents as a solution or as a process step towards obtaining further clarity on the process.

One of the main reasons inventors prefer filing a provisional patent application is because the costs are much lower (patent filing can be an expensive investment). This saves them a lot of cash, especially if they are a bootstrapped inventor. The second reason is that provisional applications are just that – provisional. As a result, there is no examiner process. This allows patent applicants to improve their invention and finetune it while being able to legally use the stamp of “Patent Pending”.

Drafting a provisional patent application means doing a lot of research on existing utility patent applications, and studying them carefully. Understand how a successful applicant has described their invention and try to ask yourself the same about your product. It is important to be as detailed as possible, so that there are no loopholes in the filing. But at the same time, it is also important to be as broad in its function as possible (without becoming redundant) so that you can clearly define the scope and necessity of the product.

It is also important to discuss the problem areas of your invention and how you are working to solve them. Ultimately, a provisional application comes with an expiry date unless it is moved into an official patent application status. So, the time that you buy with it is judicious, and the USPTO needs to see it too. Just make sure that your finetuning doesn’t completely alter the product!

It is a good idea to invest in some legal aid to help you appropriately draft a provisional patent application. This can avoid missteps that can later cause problems in obtaining a full patent. At MDE Patents, we can help you through the whole process – from filing the paperwork, to helping you obtain the actual patent.

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