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Should you submit a provisional patent application?

On Behalf of | Mar 2, 2023 | Patents

Whether you’re a hobbyist, a budding entrepreneur or you work for an innovative company, it is important to understand how to secure an edge in the patent protection process when one is lawfully available to you. 

One of the most under-appreciated opportunities available to those in need of patent protection is the provisional patent application process. By learning about this opportunity – and the unique timing restrictions associated with it – you can make informed choices that will allow you to secure an edge in the final patent application process as soon as it’s prudent to take advantage of the provisional process. 

The basics of the provisional patent application process

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) begins to evaluate the novelty of an invention based on the filing date that is associated with an inventor’s patent application. As a result, it is broadly to an inventor’s advantage to submit a patent application as soon as they can in order to safeguard their work against claims of prior art. 

However, drafting a patent application that is likely to be successful takes a considerable amount of time and effort. As a result, the USPTO allows inventors and innovative businesses to submit a provisional patent application no more than 12 months ahead of the time that they submit their final patent application. 

If the provisional patent application is accepted, the final patent application filed within 12 months will benefit from the filing date stamp associated with the provisional patent application. Meaning, inventors can benefit from nearly 12 extra months of prior art safeguards if they complete this process effectively. 

By filing a provisional patent application as soon as you’re ready to do so – and you’re not at risk of missing your 12-month follow-up window – you’ll better ensure the success of your patent application. Speaking with an attorney about timing these efforts just right can be a worthy investment of your time.