Patent signed by President Thomas Jefferson

Patent: Provisional or Non-Provisional Patent?

The first step in the patent application process is trying to decide whether to file a provisional application or non-provisional application. For clarity, there is no such thing as a “provisional patent”, just a provisional patent application. It is important to understand the key differences between a provisonal and non-provisional application:

Provisional Application
• Expire after one year
• No examination made by the USPTO
• Less formal, less requirements
• Cannot extend the deadline

Non-Provisional Application
• Can make reference to the Provisional
• “the real” application that will be examined
• must have claims
• formal, structured requirements

So, if the USPTO is not going to examine your application then why file a provisional patent application? First, a provisional patent application allows you to establish a filing date with the USPTO. Since we are a first to file nation the filing data is the most important first step in the patent application process. Second, a provisional application is much less formal and thus the time and expense it takes to prepare a provisional application is less than a non-provisional application.

There can be some risks filing a provisional application though. The single biggest risk is not including information in the original provisional application filing. The written description and drawings must adequately describe the subject matter later claimed in the non-provisional application.

And, of course – cost. It is hard to predict what the cost of filing a provisional patent application will be, but an inventor can do it pro se for as little as $75. With that said a reputable patent attorney will generally charge $1500-$3000 for provisional application (about 5-10 hours of work). I find most inventors are shocked at the fees for a non-provisional application and I generally point out the fee is a function of the amount of work the inventor is willing to contribute. As a patent attorney I am going to draft an application that is sufficiently broad to capture potential infringers and yet specific enough to be defensible. I usually spend 10-15 hours just reviewing the final draft.

Call the Law Office of John R. Nelson at click here to schedule an appointment to learn more about a provisional patent or non-provisional patent application.

What can a patent attorney help you do? In New Smyrna a patent search can be performed to look at your invention idea. If you are in Volusia County the patent attorney can do a USPTO trademark search. Pro se clients use US Patent Search on Google at times to get an idea of their invention exists. Performing a USPTO patent search through TESS is not too difficult. One of the easiest questions an intellectual property attorney can help answer is how to get a patent. Patent searches are done by number. A patent attorney in New Smyrna, port orange, Oak Hill can help with WIPO patent search and reviewing patent numbers search. A patent agent is a person that took the same exam but is not a licensed attorney. A licensed attorney will hold your invention idea confidential. Intellectual property attorneys work on patents, copyrights, and trademarks in addition to helping with invention licensing. So if you have ever wondered how to get a patent on an idea then contact the law office of John R. Nelson and discuss your patent idea with Registered patent attorney John Nelson.