The process of filing the necessary paperwork and materials for a patent application is time-consuming and potentially labor intensive. When a company does not have the luxury of time on their side, they may consider filing a provisional application that enables the company to legally use the phrase “patent pending” for their intellectual property.
A provisional patent enables you to establish an early filing date for your patent by supplying only basic information about your invention. For example, unlike nonprovisional patents, which require claims, when you file a provisional patent application, you only have to provide specifications on the invention. This information can be provided in virtually any format. Those specifications will not undergo any type of review by a U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) examiner.
When a provisional patent is secured, it provides you with a full year to file the standard, nonprovisional patent application. Although a provisional patent is only preliminary (i.e., not a full patent) it still offers the same intellectual property protections as a full patent in that it effectively reserves your invention’s space in line. As a result, you are provided some time to complete other necessary tasks without having to worry that other individuals or companies will infringe on your invention in the interim.
Provisional Patents vs. Non-Provisional Patents
A provisional patent is not actually a patent. It simply allows you to start using the term “patent pending” to refer to your invention and to preserve your intellectual property rights while you decipher when to file the full patent application.
When you pursue a nonprovisional patent, all documents and materials must be formalized and ready for review, including formal patent claims and other disclosure documents.
There are generally two advantages associated with securing a provisional patent. The first advantage is that it allows you to establish an early filing date for your intellectual property. This provides you time to secure funding for your invention and otherwise develop the technology before you finalize your invention. The second advantage is that a provisional patent is far less expensive and time-consuming to file, as opposed to a nonprovisional patent application.
When it comes to patents, time is extremely important. This is because the United States is a “first to file” country. This means that whoever files for the patent first receives the intellectual property protections, regardless of who had the idea first. Hence, it is extremely important to begin filing for a patent – or a provisional patent – as soon as possible.
One of the potential problems with pursuing a provisional patent is that you need to get it right the first time. As mentioned, when someone is pursuing a provisional patent, time is usually not on their side so the paperwork for the provisional patent needs to be filed correctly. While you only need to specify the technical specs and drawings related to your invention, any inaccuracies or issues could potentially undo the protections that the provisional patent application would otherwise provide.
One of the best ways to avoid these potential problems is to retain the services of an experienced patent lawyer such as the highly reputable Omni Legal Group.
Omni Legal Group is a premier Patent, Trademark, and Copyright law firm with offices in Los Angeles, Santa Monica, and Beverly Hills. For further information or to schedule a consultation please contact Omni Legal Group at 855.433.2226 or visit www.OmniLegalGroup.com to learn more.