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Preliminary patent application is really a misnomer, it is a “Provisional” Patent or “non-provisional” patent you are applying to be granted.
The provisional patent application is similar to reserving a table but you will eventually need to file a non-provisional patent application to be awarded full patent.
Benefits of a Preliminary Patent Application
One of the best things a provisional patent application allows is the ability for small entities, with a tight budget, to start their patent process while simultaneously perfecting the invention and complete researching whether the final product will sell or not. With a low fee of $130 you can start the patent process, without even submitting any formal “claims”. This subsequently allows inventors to pay lower attorney fees, thereby reducing the preliminary costs and buying time for the invention to be perfected. Even the mega tech companies fail to predict accurately the success of their ideas and since money is one of the biggest constraints in the patent world, the idea of filing a provisional patent application definitely sounds worthwhile.
Usually with a patent application, it takes around 25% of the allocated time to complete the majority of the initial application requirements, while the other 75% of the time is spent on revising and improving. Thus it is always beneficial to supplement the application with enough disclosure (i.e. drawings and reports, etc.) to have the patents office act quickly on your application, while also allowing you with enough time to make the invention marketable. Another aspect of a provisional patent applications is that once you have filed the application, you can start marketing the idea with the marking “Patent Pending”, generating funds, and appropriate inputs to make a great invention, all without having to worry about losing the intellectual property rights.
Drawbacks of Filing for a Preliminary Patent
While the provisional patent application is a great way to conserve upfront costs and allow time for improvisation, it is important to realize that it is just a beginning of patent process. After filing a provisional patent application you have a maximum time period of 12 months to file the non-provisional patent application. The reason being that the law only provides a benefit of a filing date and a short time period to “improve the product” and make it marketable. Thus it is very important to file a provisional patent application with as much disclosure and supporting materials as possible. You must also fulfil the ‘patentability requirements’ to be able to successfully file it. The last and most critical thing to note, is that you can extend almost all deadlines of the US patents office, except the provisional patent application. The twelve month rule is a hard and fast deadline and failure to comply to it, will leave your invention vulnerable and for all practical purposes, worthless.
In short, if you want to conserve funds at the start to experiment with an idea, without leaving it vulnerable, and you can be descriptive enough about it and its contemplated alterations, then its best to file a provisional patent application. For more information you can sign up with Intellectual Pats, or connect with us on Facebook to receive the latest news and updates.