Provisional Utility Patents
Provisional utility patents are common for inventors who need a quick patent, but do not have time to wait for a regular one. By filing a provisional patent, the invention is granted a “temporary” patent until a more detailed application can be filed.
A provisional patent application is seen as the low budget version of the patent process. It is usually carried out by companies or inventors wanting to find a cheaper way to file a utility application with the Patents and Trademark Office. The reason many people prefer to file a provisional application is due to the fact that a provisional application can be used when an invention has to be altered or changed during the life of the invention, and it can decrease the amount of money spent during the patent process. The provisional application is also used by inventors to increase the number of years available on the patent. For these reasons, many people will file a provisional application rather than a regular patent application.
Like any other type of patent application, the Patent and Trademark Office would be responsible for provisional applications. Some things to consider include:
Other differences between a provisional and a regular utility patent application are seen in the information to submit with them.
As stated previously, normal patent applications must be accompanied by detailed drawings of the invention the applicants are requesting a patent for; the drawings in a provisional application are not required to be as detailed as with a standard utility application. Another major difference with a provisional application is the use of claims. Claims must be filed with completing a standard application, but in the case of a provisional application, claims due not have to be sent in with the application. Usually a provisional patent application is used as a queue holder for a regular or nonprovisional utility application that is later submitted after the provisional application expires. Think of the provisional application as protecting the space on the line for the nonprovisional application to be later submitted.
Make sure that you read this section carefully to see if a utility patent may be of use to your business.
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