A provisional patent application (PPA) is a document produced by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that helps protect a new invention from being copied for the first 12-months after it is filed.

Its purpose is to allow an innovator to propose their idea, test its commercial viability, or modify a product before committing to the costly and time-consuming process of filing a formal application. A provisional patent application has been filed, as shown by the "patent pending" mark on a product.

Benefits of a Provisional Patent Application (PPA)

A PPA is inexpensive than a full patent, and it may not necessitate the use of a patent attorney. The conditions for a provisional patent application are basic. It is a brief description of a distinctive new product and how it can be used.

Obtaining a provisional patent has various advantages:

  • First, the inventor does not have to stress about a manufacturer or other potential buyer snatching a concept since the "patent pending" mark indicates that the creator has legal rights in the event of an infringement.
  • Second, it enables the innovator to test and refine a concept before filing a formal patent application.

Importantly, it also establishes an official issue date with the USPTO. If rival ideas are being examined, being the first inventor to file a proposal can be crucial to obtaining a patent.

Provisional Patent Application Limitations (PPA)

Validity duration :

A provisional patent application is only valid for a year and serves as a placeholder. Furthermore, you only have 12 months to change your provisional patent application to a full non-provisional application. If you don't do it before the deadline, you risk losing your concept. The one-year time limit will not be extended.

Limited Security :

Inventors frequently leave out key data of provisional patent applications since they are submitted in a hurry. They have a false sense of safety as a result of this. In reality, in order to receive complete security, a provisional patent application must meet all of the same standards as a full non-provisional application. If any detail or component is overlooked, another party may be able to get a patent for those features.

Additional expenses :

Even though a provisional patent application is affordable, you must pay for a full non-provisional application within twelve months. That's on top of the PPA cost you already paid, so you'll wind up paying extra in total.

Other drawbacks include :

  • Design inventions are not eligible for provisional applications.
  • The merits of provisional applications are not considered.
  • Provisional applications cannot claim the benefit of an application that has already been submitted.

Provisional Patent Application's Requirements

The filing fee and a cover sheet identifying the following must be included with a provisional patent application:

  • Inventor's residence (s)
  • Title of invention
  • Attorney's name, registration number, and docket number (if applicable)
  • Address for correspondence
  • Any federal agency in the United States with a property interest in the application.


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