Things to keep in Mind When Writing a Provisional Patent Application

It is wrong to believe you can get a provisional patent. You only make a provisional patent application as the starting point to get patent rights. A provisional is temporary and is valid for a year to file a non-provisional application. The provisional application allows you to buy time to test drive the product on the market or work on any flaws in 12 months. Read on to discover things to keep in mind when writing a provisional patent application.

Why Write a Provisional Patent Application?

First things first, it is very important to understand why to write a provisional patent application in the first place before going to things to keep in mind. The application gives a filing date with a patent pending status for an invention for 12 months. Afterward, you have to convert the provisional patent application to a non-provisional application.

This is back-dated to the original filing date for the provisional patent application known as the priority date. The backdating applies to just the content revealed in the provisional patent application. keep in mind that any content added to the provisional application doesn’t benefit from this priority date. Failure to convert leads to abandonment of the provisional patent application making it not accessible to the public.

How to write a provisional patent application?

Discussion of the problem solved

The first step to writing a provisional design patent application is to highlight the concern, issue, or problem that the invention solved. This is very important since all inventions originate from seeking to solve a problem. Describing the problem is not essential to get a patent. However, it is very helpful in putting a new light on the description of solutions.

Identify unique feature

One of the major inspirations for inventions is to improve on an existing product. So, the provisional patent application should include new features that make your invention unique. A good idea is to add a complete sentence that describes its new features. Keep in mind that the application write-up should mainly focus on highlighting these new features.

Description of each new feature

The next step in the provisional patent application is to become broad with a description of each new feature you’re adding to the product. A robust provisional application offers an in-depth description of all features that bring out the uniqueness of the product. Be descriptive enough to give a clear picture of how your product is different from existing ones.

You can add structure, dimension, components, and other relevant details. Equally important is to discuss the function and structural variations of the product. However, the claims will define the scope of patent rights if the description is too limiting.

Portray creativeness

A provisional patent application that seems too obvious is likely to get rejected by the patent office. So, ensure that your idea doesn’t seem easy for an ordinary person to accomplish. It should not look like you just added, modified, or combined some aspects to develop the claimed invention. Discussing why no ordinary person can come up with your invention strengthens your provisional patent application. Be sure to include any challenges, hurdles, or non-obvious factors that other people can’t comprehend to come up with a product like yours.

Keep this in mind

A full description is necessary

Although a provisional patent application is not examined, you don’t have to consider it as just a placeholder. Disclosure in the provisional application supports claims in the no provisional application. This allows the non-provisional application to inherit the filing date of the provisional application. Poor drafting of a provisional application that discloses the product concept without an adequate description doesn’t help to establish an early filing date for the non-provisional application.

Additionally, a poorly written provisional application is detrimental during an examination of the non-provisional application. A well-drafted provisional patent application includes a thorough description of the invention precisely. And, disclosure in the provisional application must match details appearing in the non-provisional application.

Expiration deadline

Drafting a provisional patent application is not a guarantee of getting a patent. This is because this application is not examined and it can’t become a fully-fledged patent. Converting the provisional application to a non-provisional application is what helps you get a patent. Additionally, you will have to first negotiate with an examiner to get the much-desired patent that gives you patent rights.

A provisional application expires in a year after the filling date if you don’t convert it to a non-provisional application. So, careful planning is essential and diligence while converting the non-provisional application from a provisional application is very important. You have to do this at the end of the one-year window so you don’t forfeit potential patent rights.


Filing a provisional patent application is a crucial step to getting patent rights. Great care is required when drafting the application to give a full description of the new features you have added. Equally important is to remember to convert the provisional application to a non-provisional application to get the patent rights.