What You Need To Know About Provisional Patent Applications

What You Need To Know About Provisional Patent Applications

A provisional patent application automatically goes abandoned after one year from the date of filing. Therefore, business owners must file a regular patent application claiming priority to their provisional patent application before the one year expires.
Business owners often ask “Then why should we file a provisional patent application if it goes abandoned after one year?”

Denver patent attorney Mark Trenner offers these four very good reasons for filing a provisional patent application:

  1. Filing a provisional patent application may be a good idea if you are watching your budget. As you will see below, provisional patent applications can be filed relatively inexpensively. After you file a provisional patent application, you can mark your invention (and any marketing materials describing your invention) as “Patent Pending.” This shows customers, competitors, and potential investors that you are serious about your invention.
  2. You have up to one year to test-market your invention before investing in a regular patent application. If your invention is a success, you can file a regular patent application and claim priority to your provisional patent application. If after 9 or 10 months you realize that your invention just isn’t being received that well, you can drop it and you haven’t spent that much money yet.
  3. If you will be making changes to your invention, the provisional patent application at least identifies those aspects of your invention that belong to you at the time of filing. Any changes and improvements can then be added to the regular patent application without having to file a separate application.
  4. A provisional patent application can also be evidence that the invention belonged to you if someone you share your invention with later claims that the invention is theirs.

Written by

Mark Trenner is an attorney licensed to practice before the United States Patent and Trademark Office. In addition to my law degree, I have technical degrees in electrical engineering, environmental engineering, and civil engineering, and experience in a wide variety of technologies. With over 12 years experience in the intellectual property field, I have prepared, filed, and prosecuted numerous patent applications, trademark applications, and copyright applications. I am also experienced with other intellectual property and business law issues, including helping inventors license their inventions to industry. After practicing as an attorney in several private law firms, I also served as senior patent counsel for the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colorado for 4 years. Trenner Law Firm was established in 2004 to serve individuals, entrepreneurs, start-ups, small businesses, and large corporate clients and help protect their intellectual property with patents, trademarks, and copyrights. General Information Only - NOT LEGAL ADVICE.