A provisional patent application is a preliminary step, before filing of a regular patent, for obtaining a type of interim protection. One can file an application for a provisional patent in India without any formal patent claims. The option is created to provide investors with an inexpensive way to temporarily protect their inventions until they decide to pursue a full patent.
A provisional patent application has a twelve month pendency period from the date of filing after which the inventor has to file a complete specification to take advantage of the filing date of the provisional application. If the complete specification is not filed within a year, the provisional patent application is considered abandoned.
Provisional application is filed to hold the idea behind the invention until the inventor has the time and/or the money to file a regular, application. If a normal patent application is filed before the 12 month expiration of the provisional, then the main application will receive the earlier provisional filing date. If a non-provisional application claiming the invention disclosed in the provisional is never filed, the invention will eventually become non-patentable.
Provisional patent applications have been used by many inventors to instigate the patent process without the cost of hiring a patent agent in India. While provisional application is easier to file than normal patent application, inventors often forget that there are requirements that must be met in order for a provisional application to be effective.
Application with Provisional Specification:
Provisional Application is a temporary or interim application filed with a Patent Office when an invention is not complete in all aspects. The provisional application is to be followed up by a complete specification within a period of 12 months else it will be treated as abandoned.
Benefits of Provisional Specification:
There are several advantages of filing a provisional patent application:
■ Lower cost and faster preliminary process:
The provisional patent filing fee is much less expensive than a full patent fee. In addition, the technical requirements are simplified, which means it takes much less time and money to prepare and file a provisional patent application.
■ Establishes an official patent filing date:
Full patent applications filed within twelve months of the provisional application date have the benefit of "relating back" to the provisional patent application. This means that should a dispute arise over invention ownership, the Patent Office will accept the provisional patent's earlier filing date as the date of filing.
■ One year to assess the commercial viability of your invention:
The inventor can take advantage of the provisional patent's one-year pendency period to evaluate the commercial potential of the invention before committing to the upfront costs of drafting and filing a full patent.
■ Use of the "patent pending notice:
Prior to the advent of the provisional patent application, an inventor had to file a full patent application in order to use the label Patent Pending" or "Patent
Applied For". The inventor can now do so upon filing a provisional patent application. This label is often useful in deterring potential theft.
A provisional patent preserves the confidentiality of your application without publication. However, one should try to align the disclosure in a provisional application as close as possible to the final Claims one has in mind. Incomplete applications will only harm the applicant's chances in the future. Adequate disclosures should be made. The full implications of the invention should be understood and a rough set of claims in line with the broad inventive concept and intended coverage to be sought should be kept in mind, even if such claims are not presented at this stage. Also, supporting drawings have to be provided.
The provisional patent application is not a substitute for filing a non-provisional patent application. It is important to understand that even if one file a provisional patent application, he will still need to file complete specification down the road to receive patent protection. Think of the provisional patent application as a possible step in the patent process, but not the final step.
Advocates, Patent & Trademark Attorneys
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