How to File Your Own Provisional Patent Application

Don’t file your own provisional patent application.

You might be able to say you have “patent pending status” for 12 months, but it’s unlikely you’ll be able to rely on that provisional patent application for a filng date after that time, especially if you are using an online or automated template for drafting a provisional patent application.

There are several advantages to filing a provisional patent application.  For example, filing a provisonal patent application is a cost-efficient means of protecting an invention during the early stages of the development process.  Additionally, multiple provisonal patent applications can be referenced when a nonprovisional utility patent application is filed that combines all the ideas of each provisonal patent application into one application.  Do you have an invention that you would like to commercially promote by fear that your invention could be stolen and commercially exploited by others?  Are you considering filing a provisional patent application for your invention without using a registered patent attorney and using an online patent application template to guide you through the process?  If so, here are 5 reasons why you should avoid online provisional patent application templates.

1.  You May Not Disclose Enough

In order for a non-provisional patent application to claim the filing date of an earlier filed provisional patent application the invention claimed in the non-provisional patent application must be fully described and disclosed such that one skilled in the art of the invention can make and use the claimed invention without too much trouble. The earlier filed non-provisional patent application need not be orderly, pretty or neat. It doesn’t even need all of the sections and disclosures required for non-provisional utility applications. However, the provisional patent application must adequate disclose the claimed invention. Any claims that are not sufficiently disclosed will not receive the benefit of the earlier filed provisional.

2.  You Don’t Have a Docketing System

If you are not knowledgeable about patent law, you will face many challenges when attempting to use a PPA template to prepare your application.  Yes, provisional patent applications are a simplified means to apply for patent protection.  However, provisionals do not result in an issued patent because they expire in one year.  If you want to obtain a patent on your invention, you will need to file a nonprovisional patent application before your provisional patent application expires. 

3.  Experience Matters.

Do you know when you should or should not file a provisional patent application?  If you plan on filing international patents on your invention, some countries have strict requirements regarding first filings.  Hence, filing a PPA could be problematic if you desire international protection.

Do you know if you should submit drawings with your provisional patent application?  Some have included information on their websites that suggest that drawings are not required with a provisional patent application filing.  However, you should submit drawings if they are necessary for the understanding of the subject matter that you are trying to patent.  If you need to submit drawings, do you know how to draft the drawings or many to include?  Again, you could submit a provisional patent application without the help of an attorney, but should you?  These probably all questions that you do not know and will have to research.  You will need to do a lot of research if you use a PPA template.  

4. Patent Law is Considered One of the Most Complex.

A professional patent attorney is the best source for filing the provisional patent application correctly.  Patent attorneys make up less than 5% of attorneys and require an additional examination to practice. An attorney can’t call themselves a patent attorney unless they have sat for and passed the Patent Bar Registration Exam. Only 47% of attorneys who took the exam in 2018 passed! So, it’s really not a great idea to pretend to be one.

Patent applications are complicated, a patent attorney will help you avoid the pitfalls in the patent process. 

5. Writing the application will be time consuming for you.

There are many types of provisional application templates available online, so you will first need to conduct research on which template to use.  Templates only give you a place to start – so, you will still need to research all the necessary USPTO patent submission standards.  Most PPA templates do not provide guidance on how to write your application – so, you will need to research that too.  For example, your application should include a specification as prescribed by section 112(a).  Do you know what a specification is?  Do you know what section 112(a) is?  If your template does not explain how to comply with these requirements, you will need to research the information.


Ahaji Amos, PLLC

More Than Your Average IP Boutique

Ahaji Amos is patent and trademark attorney with 17 years of experience in intellectual property litigation and prosecution at Ahaji Amos, PLLC, a law firm that represents startup and small businesses in all matters including patent prosecution, trademark prosecution, copyrights, trade secrets, oppositions, cancelations, equity funding and commercial litigation. Ahaji Amos, PLLC is dedicated to representing entrepreneurs, inventors, and innovators.  

This article is for information and advertising purposes and does not constitute legal advice.  No attorney-client relationship is formed in the absence of a fully written and executed engagement agreement between Ahaji Amos, PLLC and its clients.  Ahaji Amos can be reached at ahaji@ahajiamos.com.  More information can be found at https://ahajiamos.com.

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Ahaji Amos, PLLC