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The Law Office of Joan I. Norek

        Intellectual Property

            Chicago, Illinois

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About Provisional Patent Applications

Caution.  Provisional patent applications are not the solution for every situation.

  • There is no such thing as a provisional patent, only provisional patent applications.

  • Both a provisional and a non-provisional give you patent-pending status instantly.

  • A provisional patent application does not speed up your protection.

  • A provisional cannot be content-corrected.  Corrections to content can be made via a non-provisional application claiming priority from the provisional.

  • Inventorship corrections can be made in a provisional patent application if certain conditions are met, and appropriate steps taken.

  • A provisional patent application will not be examined by the USPTO and will never itself provide patent protection.

  • A provisional patent application must be replaced with a non-provisional utility patent application claiming priority from the provisional patent application within a year of filing.

  • The one-year replacement-with-non-provisional requirement is strictly applied.  There are no hardship exceptions.  There are no extensions.

  • A provisional patent application cannot be converted into a design patent application.

  • Applications in foreign countries must also be filed within a year of the provisional application filing date.

  • A disclosure document provides date-of-invention evidence without triggering the foreign applications deadline window, but attempts to 'get it out there' can deep-six foreign filings. (USPTO has discontinued disclosure document program)

  • A provisional patent application provides no priority or filing date benefits unless the description it contains is sufficient to enable someone to practice the invention.

  • If the provisional patent application subject does not meet patentability standards (new and nonobvious), no patent will be issued even if a non-provisional application is timely filed.

  • Because a provisional patent application is worthless if the subject matter does not meet the patentability standards, a professional patent search is often a better first step.

  • A provisional patent application is not the customary (much less required) first step in seeking patent protection.  The customary first step in seeking patent protection is a patent search, and then a non-provisional patent application.

  • Adding a provisional-application step to the patent application process will increase your overall costs.

Don't provisional unless there is a serious need to delay the costs of a non-provisional patent application and the disclosure document program is insufficient.

See also provisional template program, provisional vs non-provisional or basic template download.

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The Law Office of Joan I. Norek
25 E. Washington Street, Suite 1400
Chicago, Illinois  60602
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noreklaw, noreklaw.com and PatentAttitude are trademarks and service marks of Joan I. Norek, Chicago, Illinois.

Use of this website does not create an attorney-client relationship.  This website provides information and resources but is neither legal advice nor a substitute for the legal advice of an IP attorney.  Retentions are subject to the discretion of the firm.
This website was designed and constructed by Joan I. Norek.