If you’re an inventor or you run an innovative business, it’s important to understand that the process of creating something new doesn’t end when your invention is fully realized. For many reasons, it’s important to secure enforceable intellectual property protection for your invention as soon as you can. If your creation is a manufactured product, machine, manufacturing process, a non-removable design for any of these innovations, or a new, asexually reproducing plant species, your work is likely eligible for patent protection. To secure a patent for your invention, you’ll need to submit at non-provisional patent application to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. If your work is eligible for a utility or plant patent (meaning, you’re not trying to patent a design), it may be a smart move to submit a provisional patent application in advance of your non-provisional patent application.
Non-Provisional Patent Applications – The Basics
Regardless of the type of patent you’re trying to obtain, you’ll need to submit a non-provisional patent application to the USPTO. A non-provisional patent application will formally ask the USPTO to grant you a patent. The non-provisional patent application process is notorious because it is time-intensive, labor-intensive, highly-detailed, and usually requires the assistance of an experienced intellectual property attorney to complete.
Because the process of completing a non-provisional patent application takes such a long time, new inventions and their inventors remain legally vulnerable during the period in which an invention has been created but a non-provisional patent application for that invention hasn’t yet been submitted to the USPTO by the inventor. The USPTO evaluates the novelty of an invention according to the filing date associated with its non-provisional patent application. Meaning, if prior art emerges in between the dates that an invention is created and a non-provisional patent application arrives at the USPTO, the invention runs the risk of being considered unoriginal and therefore ineligible for patent protection. This is why it’s so important to secure a non-provisional patent filing date as soon as you can. Submitting a provisional patent application can help you secure a favorable filing date, even as you’re still working to complete your non-provisional patent application.
Provisional Patent Applications – The Basics
The primary reason why you should consider submitting a provisional patent application to the USPTO is that this process allows your non-provisional patent application to benefit from your provisional patent application’s filing date. Meaning, if you submit a provisional patent application no more than 365 days before you submit a non-provisional patent application for the same invention, your non-provisional patent application gets stamped with your provisional patent application’s filing date. This reduces the likelihood that your invention will be rejected for patent protection because claims of prior art emerged after your invention was created but before you could submit your non-provisional patent application. By taking this extra step, you better ensure that your non-provisional patent application will ultimately succeed.
Why a Provisional Patent Application Is a Smart Investment
Not only is submitting a provisional patent application a good way to ensure the success of your non-provisional patent application, it also allows you to use “patent pending” status earlier than you would otherwise be able to. You are legally allowed to advertise or otherwise label your invention as patent pending as soon as you’ve submitted a patent application to the USPTO. You don’t have to wait until your non-provisional patent request is formally submitted to earn patent pending status if you submit a provisional patent application in advance of your final request for patent protection. Patent pending status can help you to attract investors, intrigue consumers, and deter competitors from infringing upon your work.
Whereas completing a non-provisional patent application can take you and your attorney up to a year or more, a provisional patent application is generally less than 10 pages and requires much less effort to compile. As this relatively minimal effort will result in a favorable filing date for your non-provisional patent application and early patent pending status, submitting a provisional patent application for your invention is usually a worthwhile investment of your time and energy.
Intellectual Property Guidance Is Available
If you or your business has invented a new product, manufacturing process, machine, product or machine design, or eligible plant species, please schedule a consultation with an intellectual property attorney at LawTrades today to discuss obtaining patent protection for your work. Secure, maintain, and defend your intellectual property rights with the help of one of our intellectual property attorneys. We look forward to hearing about your invention and speaking with you about your intellectual property needs.