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Provisional Patent Application Information

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The following is generally the information included in a sample provisional application for patent to be filed with the Unites States Patent and Trademark Office [USPTO]:

1. Invention Title. The application should start with a short title of the invention. Example: "Remote Control".

2. Invention Background. Here, it should be explained in a few paragraphs what problem or problems are solved by the invention. The invention should not be described in this section of the application. For example, if the invention is a remote control for starting a car, here you would explain for example that the inside of a car is hot in the summer, cold in the winter... This is uncomfortable for the driver and passengers... The remote control solves this problem because the driver can start the car remotely few minutes before getting in the car... By writing about what problem or problems are solved by your invention you help people understand why your invention is useful.

3. Invention Summary. As a general rule, the summary of the invention should be as short as possible and written in broad terms (Example: "The invention is a remote control for starting a car").

4. Invention Description. It is generally recommended to have a description of the invention in a provisional application, which is as detailed as possible. This is because in order to be able to claim priority to a provisional application, when filing the non-provisional application later (within 12 months), the invention has to be disclosed/described in the provisional application. Furthermore, the description has to outline the best mode to make and use the invention, and it has to enable a person skilled in the particular industry to make and use the invention. In order to meet these requirements, the following are some of the questions that should be answered:

  • How does the invention work?
  • What does the invention do?
  • How can the invention be used?
  • How can the invention be made?

In the invention description you should also refer to, and describe the drawings (Figure 1, Figure 2, etc) which will be submitted (if any) with your application.

5. Invention Drawing(s). In order to be accorded a filing date, the provisional application for patent has to include "any drawings necessary to understand the invention." This includes practically all inventions except compositions of matter or processes, but a drawing may also be useful in the case of many processes. The good news is that the drawings don't have to be formal in a provisional application for patent. Any drawing which can be "effectively scanned and adequately reproduced" is accepted by the USPTO. So you can sketch your drawings in pencil and when they are final and clean enough you can trace them using a black pen (option 1). Make sure that you label the drawings: Figure 1, Figure 2, etc, exactly as you referred to them in the invention description. If you can use a CAD program, that would be even better (option 2). Alternatively, LegalArrow® can provide, for an additional fee,  professional drawings based on your sketches (option 3). 

6. Inventor(s) Information. One who contributes to the conception of an invention is an inventor. The patent law of the United States of America requires that the applicant in a patent application must be the inventor.

  • Additional Inventors? If the invention was invented by more than one inventor, add the additional/joint inventor(s)' information here. In U.S. joint inventors must apply for a patent jointly. 

7. Correspondence Address. The correspondence address should generally be that of the inventor (or one of the inventors) or his/her legal representative. The USPTO will direct all notices, official letters, and other communications relating to the application to the correspondence address. A daytime telephone number should also be supplied in a clearly identifiable manner, as it is required by USPTO.

8. U.S. Government Agency. Indicate here whether or not the invention was made by an agency of the United States Government or under a contract with an agency of the United States Government. If yes, provide the Government contract number.

9. Small Entity Status. USPTO fees are reduced for small entities. For example, the filing fee for a provisional patent application is, at the time of this writing, $110 instead of $220. Indicate whether or not small entity status is claimed. In this context, small entity means an independent inventor (or inventors), a small business (with less than 500 employees), or a nonprofit organization eligible for reduced patent fees. Please note that small entity status refers to the owner of rights in the invention (e.g., the employer, assignee, etc), not to the inventors who would always be individuals according to the U.S. patent law.

10. Signature. Applicant's signature is required. By signing the applicant certifies that the information provided in the provisional patent application is true and correct to the best of his/her knowledge. The date the application is signed is also required, and should be written in the following format: YYYY-MM-DD.


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Note: Legal Arrow Inc. is authorized by law to provide legal document services, but is not a law firm or a substitute for an attorney, and therefore, it can not give you legal advice, or represent you in your legal matter (see entire Disclaimer). If you need attorney or law firm services visit the website of Cionca Law Group P.C.