Advantages and Limitations of Provisional Patent for Inventions
In a world where information is power, intellectual property is a valuable asset for both companies and individuals. Therefore, protection tools are equally important since they provide peace of mind for inventors everywhere. Sadly, the patenting system is not that easy to use and understand. Not to mention, filing for a full-blown patent is a time-consuming and costly process.
Luckily there is a way to minimize costs and still keep your idea safe while continuing the research and testing its value on the market. This method is called provisional patent filing and is available in the US since 1995. A provisional patent application can be filled a year before filing a formal utility application, which gives the inventor more time to publish or get the results from the market concerning the viability of the idea.
Still, given the legal intricacies that can show up, you should first get yourself up to date with how to file a provisional patent application and if this is the best path for your case. After all, there may be times when you can take a different path, such as asking team members and everyone else involved to sign an NDA. It’s also a matter of pros and cons - do you really benefit from using a provisional patent or should you go directly with the real deal?
Since the rules and the situation in itself can be quite confusing, we took a look at the pros and cons of the provisional patent application. So, if you want to know more, make sure to have a look:
Provisional Patent Advantages
The main benefits that come out of filing a provisional patent application are the relatively low cost (usually a minimal fee) and the simplicity of the process. Since provisional applications are not substantively reviewed by a PTO examiner, the process is fast and smooth. Moreover, you don’t have to perform a database search for similar patents.
Another huge advantage of provisional patent applications is that it allows inventors to establish a priority date without knowing for sure if their idea will take off.
Provisional Patent Limitations
While, on the surface, this sounds like a fantastic idea, there are several limitations one needs to know of.
First of all, while it’s true that provisional patents are not costly, they also have no effect on the overall cost of the subsequent utility applications. In fact, it only adds to the overall cost (although it’s only a minimal increase). Second of all, this type of application requires a certain degree of disclosure, so it’s important to select the type of data you submit in the application (no trade secrets should be included). Lastly, the idea of having a provisional patent can lure inventors into a false sense of security and disclose more information in published papers or even commercial publications.
Overall, it’s important to understand the power of a provisional patent and whether or not it suits your business or organization. Therefore, it’s best to discuss everything with a patent attorney you trust before making any move. Someone with experience in the legal intricacies of patent filing can easily guide you on the right path.