What is a provisional patent application?

Provisional patent

What is a provisional patent application?

A provisional patent application is something that exists in U.S. patent law, but not in Canada.

Features of a provisional application

A U.S. provisional patent application is one that is filed to secure a filing date & start protecting your invention, but the application will never be examined.

So why file an application that won't be examined? Some of the benefits of filing a U.S. provisional patent application are:

  • the cost - USPTO (government) filing fee of $280USD
  • the filing requirements are less formal
  • can help you secure funding/financing to pursue the invention
  • protects your invention while you further develop or refine it
  • it is not published and remains confidential*

*Note: If a regular patent application is later filed & published claiming priority to the provisional, then the provisional will be made available to the public

Filing a regular patent application

A provisional patent application lasts for 12 months; after such time it is considered abandoned and will remain confidential. Before the expiry of that period, if you wish to continue protecting your invention, you need to file a non-provisional (e.g. regular) patent application.

Best practices

Although the provisional patent application will not be examined & has less formal requirements, it is beneficial to submit drawings and a description that are as complete as possible, as the provisional application will form the content basis for the regular patent application later on.

Do you have an invention? Contact Sander Law to draft & file your U.S. provisional patent application.

The above content is for informational purposes only and is not legal or professional advice.