A patent is defined as a form of intellectual property right. It provides an owner has the legal rights to prevent others from selling, creating, copying, or revising an invention for a limited period of years. That is, in exchange for publishing and enabling public disclosure of the independent invention. There are three common categories of patenting namely utility patent, design patent, and plant patent. One of the most common types of patents is the utility patent since it is used to protect the copyright of a product, process, or machine.
There are two types of utility patent applications: provisional and non-provisional. These two patent applications have different characteristics and aspects of patent protection. A non-provisional patent application is usually referred to as the regular utility patent application. It is the application for a patent that you need to submit to the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) for further review first by your patent attorney, patent agent, and the patent examiner concerned. For patent registration, the application must be written in strict compliance with the law, following a specific format that may include, at least, one claim.
On the other hand, provisional patent applications need not be reviewed. It has no strict format rules that one must comply with. This patent process is considered a cost-effective and flexible method in acquiring a filing date and patent-pending status for an existing invention. Patent applicants often choose provisional patent application since it is easier, faster, and cheaper to process and obtain as compared to a non-provisional patent. This applies to inventions that may need future revisions, amendments, and development. It helps protect a new invention from being copied within a grace period of one year before the issuance of the formal patent.
In situations where a non-provisional patent application is filed within a year from the provisional patent filing date, all the information related to the patentable utility, presented through drawings and writings in the provisional application, should complement the non-provisional application. The patent application will be able to take advantage of the earlier provisional date if the patent rights in the non-provisional are completely declared in both applications.
In contrast, if there will be any new subject matter to be included in the non-provisional application, these revisions will not be covered in the earlier priority date of provisional application; hence, only those from the non-provisional filing date will apply. Non-provisional patent applications are advised to be filed at an earlier date since it will take about a year or two for the processing of the initial review of the patent application. This will allow you to acquire your invention patent license at the soonest possible time.
There are some people who decide to work on a provisional application on their own without even knowing the risks and disadvantages. When applying for a patent, you should bear in mind that the sufficient description of the invention to be patented must be precisely written and clearly illustrated in the document. This is one of the most important factors to be considered in filing a patent application. Such specifications of details will be checked thoroughly by the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) of the United States.
For inquiries and assistance in filing your provisional and non-provisional patent application, you may consult with our trusted registered patent attorneys at War IP Law, PLLC Firm. Call us at 202-800-3754 for an initial consultation.