Provisional vs Non-Provisional Patent Applications: What is the Difference?

Nov 10, 2021

Provisional vs Non-Provisional Patent Applications

So, you have spent countless hours perfecting your innovation, and now you want to ensure it is protected…What should your next steps be? Should you file a provisional application or a non-provisional application? Do you know the differences? What are the important factors to consider regarding which you should pursue?

All these questions can start to pile up, so it is great if you can get your bearings first by understanding the critical differences between a provisional patent application and a non-provisional application. If you are going to make an educated decision on what path might be best for your innovation, it is important to understand the main differences between the two.

The first difference between a provisional and a non-provisional patent application is claim requirements. A provisional patent application does not require any claims to be filed with the application. Whereas a non-provisional patent application does require claims to be filed. This does not mean claims cannot be included in the provisional patent application filing, but it is not one of the required items.

The second difference is a provisional patent application expires after one year whereas, a non-provisional application does not expire. The non-provisional application will get examined and either go abandoned or eventually becomes a patent.

The third, and potentially most important difference, is cost. A provisional patent application has a much lower cost. For a provisional patent the United States Patent and Trademark Office charges only about a $150.00 filing fee (at the time of publishing this blog), and for a non-provisional patent application, the USPTO charges close to a $900.00 filing fee, (assuming you’re a small entity).

So now you know the main differences between these two kinds of applications, you may be wondering, if a provisional never gets examined by an examiner, why would someone want to file one? There are a few reasons someone may decide to go with a provisional vs a non-provisional. A provisional patent application can sometimes be seen as a “placeholder” in order to buy you some time to gain more funds to patent your invention. A provisional also allows you to claim “patent pending” status which would be important if you are looking to disclose your idea to the public. Alternatively, you could want to patent your invention now, but not sure where you will be in a year. A provisional patent can allow you to start the process more cost-effectively without jumping right into the deep end with a non-provisional. If you are interested in how to file your own provisional patent application check out this blog here.

The take-home is this. There are many different strategies that go into patenting an invention. One thing to keep in mind is it is always a good idea to have a licensed patent attorney in your corner from the beginning. Luckily at Dana Legal Services, we have the expertise needed to think of the full lifetime of your patent, from drafting to issued and beyond! If the entirety of your patent and your business model is not considered at the very beginning of the patent process you could be missing out on revenue down the road. Leave it to us to help guide you! If you are not ready to dive right in check out our blog on nonprovisional patent filing and find out more about the application process.

If you would like to learn more, check out our YouTube video on provisional vs non-provisionals patent applications HERE!

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