Provisional Patents – Overview

The provisional patent application is designed to provide a one-year period to further develop the invention, determine marketability, seek licensing agreements and protect the ability to obtain international patent protection. An important aspect of a provisional patent application is the right to label the invention patent pending. Within 12 months of the filing date of the provisional application, a non-provisional patent application based on the information contained in the provisional application and any additional aspects of the invention that were developed since the filing date of the provisional must be filed. Read More →

Provisional Patent Process

Primarily, the process of filing a provisional patent application boils down to a fairly simple procedure. We first have an exploratory discussion with the inventor and gain a foundational understanding of the their invention. After this initial consultation, the inventor provides us with a series of documents including the drawings, pictures, and description of his/her idea. After analyzing these drawings in conjunction with the description, we endeavor to prepare a provisional patent application, which is patentable over the prior art of which we are aware. Read More →

Provisional Patent – When Do I Need One?

In recent years, inventors have turned to the provisional patent application as an inexpensive means of protecting their inventions. Sometimes this is necessitated because an upcoming product release or trade show does not allow enough time to prepare and file a regular patent application before disclosing their invention to the world. Instead, they rely on the provisional patent application to protect their invention until they have the time or money to prepare and file the more detailed Utility Patent Application.
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Protection under the Provisional Patent Application

As soon as the provisional patent is submitted, the inventor immedietly has worldwide protection. When an individual files an international patent application, they can claim that their protection officially started from the date the provisional application. Perhaps most important to understand about You have patent pending and so for whatever is in the provisional patent at that time, the inventor has world wide protection. This is of course assuming that after the end of the first year, you file a regular U.S application. While the provisional patent application is not as detailed nor as costly as a regular patent application, it is also not a legal instrument that can be learned in an afternoon at the library. Improperly drafting of a provisional patent application can be more harmful than not using one at all.

Provisional Patents – How Long Do They Last?

The Provisional Patent lasts for a full twelve months from the date the application is submitted. Once the twelve months is up, a utility patent must be issued to maintain protection of the invention.

Provisional Patent Application – Goals and Benefits

  • The provisional patent application provides the inventor with the all-important priority date.It offers an extra year of protection (which means instead of 20 years of protection if the patent is granted, it is 21 years).

  • It offers an extra year of protection (which means instead of 20 years of protection if the patent is granted, it is 21 years).

  • A 12-month period to more fully develop the product is provided (vital if development includes financing of rather important functions not yet in place.) Read More →

Provisional Patents and the Priority Date

The priority date is a critically important feature because it establishes the date when the disclosed invention was first made practical. To rely on the priority date, within one year of filing the provisional application the inventor must file a regular patent application, basing it on the information contained in the provisional application.

What this provides is a one-year cushion. During that year, as the product or concept is further developed, additional provisional applications can be filed and relied upon for the priority date. Failure to file within one year of the original or subsequent provisional applications results in the loss of the priority date. Read More →


Howard M. Cohn & Associates has extensive and varied experience in all aspects of Intellectual Property law, with a unique specialty in patent and trademark preparation and prosecution. Schedule an appointment or call us at 800-613-1067.