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Provisional Patent

The US legislature enacted the provisional patent mechanism to help inventors file a patent application relatively quickly and cheaply.

A provisional patent, like any patent, must include a detailed technical explanation of the invention – typically by text and drawings. The technical explanation should be addressed to a person in the relevant technological field, and the explanation should be clear enough for that person to understand the invention. 

We recommend giving an explanation that will also be understandable to patent examiners and the court – so it is highly recommended not to be stingy with explanations. It is recommended to use a patent attorney to write the application – or at least to provide feedback on it.

The provisional patent protects an invention, and the invention is supposed to solve some problem and should have some relative advantage. The provisional patent should explain how the problem is solved, and how you obtain the benefits of the product.

Lack of sufficient technical detail is one of the most common errors in the provisional patent. Without a sufficient technical description, patent authorities can ignore the application.

The provisional patent is not examined by the U.S. Patent Office.

The provincial patent automatically expires after a year. It can be seen as a kind of initial patent that serves as a "springboard" for a "regular" (non- provisional) patent.


If the provisional patent was converted within a year of filing to a “regular” patent application, then the “regular” application could benefit from the earlier filing date of the provisional patent.

For example, if the "regular" application calls for protection of the technical information described in the temporary provisional patent, then this protection will be examined by the Patent Office in light of the information that existed in the field at the time of filing the provisional patent. 

If the provisional patent is not converted to a “regular” patent application, then it should not be published.

It is important to note that the provisional patent can be converted into a "regular" patent application that can be filed in the United States or anywhere else.

We recommend considering filing a provisional patent in cases of time constraints, budget constraints or where a particular invention is immature or is still under development.

Our firm specializes in drafting provisional patents and filing them directly with the US Patent Office.

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