Provisional patent application is helpful in circumstances when you are still working on your invention yet you want to secure it. It provides you the buffer time of 12 months to protect your invention from copying by third parties. However, it doesn’t mean you get the final patent it just prevents others from developing anything similar to your idea. In this time span you can complete your idea and file the final patent application.
Thus, this article will tell you about the benefits, limitation, why you need it. It will also answer some of your important questions that you have about PPA.
Also read: What is a Provisional Patent Application?
Benefits of Provisional Patent Application
Acquiring a provisional patent is less expensive than a full and final patent. You just need to find the list of fees of USPTO and pay the one that corresponds to PPA. Requirements of a provisional patent application are very simple. It doesn’t needs you to acquire expensive attorney services to prepare the draft and file it. Your draft needs to include two things very clearly, the description of your invention, and the industry level companies can use it i.e. its applicability.
It grants your invention, the “patent pending” tag, hence you don’t need to worry about any third party stealing your invention. You have the exclusive rights of your idea for the 12 months against any infringement. You can utilize this time span to build your product finally, test its applicability commercially, and then file formal application for it.
Since it provides patent label tag, hence, it gives your idea an official filing date in USPTO. Thus, you become the first inventor of your concept, and it helps in getting the patent grant easily during formal patent filing.
Limitations of a Provisional Patent Application
There is no doubt that provisional patent offers you numerous important benefits. However, it also brings some of the limitations to you. They are given below, read them carefully:
- Short Validity:
Provisional patent application has a lifespan of just 12 months only. Hence you get 12 months only to complete your research and file the formal application. If you don’t do so with in the deadline, it can cost you your invention as there are no extensions given by USPTO in PPA.
- Limited Protection:
Inventors seek provisional patent as a back up to protect their invention till they file formal application. Thus, they often file it in a hurry which leads to missing out important details in the application. This results in limited protection and inventors live in false sense of security until someone copies the unclaimed ideas in application. If you miss the details, your competitors may get patent on those details. Thus, your PPA must meet the requirements of formal application if you want full protection
- Increases overall cost of Patent Grant:
Yes, provisional patent application is no doubt relatively cheaper than non-provisional or formal patent application. But it doesn’t mean it comes free of cost, hence if you go for direct formal patent filing it will cost you less. But getting patent grant after filing provisional and then filing formal application after 12 months will surely be more expensive.
Other Key Limitations of PPA:
- You can’t file provisional patent applications for design inventions
- It is not examined on the merits of invention
- You can’t claim the benefits of previously filed application under PPA.
Also read: What is a PCT Patent Application?
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