Provisional Vs Non-Provisional Patent Application: A Detailed Comparison


Are you hampered with the roadblock created by the provisional patent vs non-provisional confusion?

Has it stalled your next move already?

When the dilemma of understanding these two patents notoriously surrounds you, the thumb rule is to understand what they mean, what they serve in your plate and of course- how much they demand from your pocket.

And since you are here, we figured what you are looking for and so did this section that will tell you the differences between provisional patent and non-provisional patents, covering every major aspect that has led you to a myriad of questions.

But first things first, you need to know what these two patents are all about. Don't you?

Knowing and precisely comprehending the difference between a provisional patent application and a non-provisional patent one will give you the scope to learn better about the whole process of filing a patent, the costs that you will be billed for and most importantly- it will help you understand how to use them for safeguarding your rights as an inventor in a bounteous way.

What is a Provisional Patent?

A provisional patent application or PPA is a document issued by the USPTO, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, that allows you to protect your invention from being duplicated during the active period of 12 months till a formal patent application gets filed.

Since it only stays for a year, the inventor gets an opportunity to perform more study about their invention or finish it before they file a non-provisional patent application. Know that a provisional patent application charges you a lot less to file.

Let us understand it with a provisional patent example. You invented an invisible ink pen. Now if you file a provisional patent application, you get a room for one year to test its workability and all the technicalities which makes you shape it better and enhance it into a more successful invention.

You must note that a provisional patent application form features quite a loose format. You need to undergo a very few formalities in order to file a provisional patent. You simply have to sketch out your invention, elaborate different features that it has, and mention as many aspects of it as you can.

From the day of filing this application, you will get a complete year to transform your provisional application into a conversion. By this conversion we mean that you will file a non-provisional patent application that has a reference to the provisional patent application you filed. If you see it in the simplest terms, a well-put provisional patent is a procurator. It reserves a spot in the queue for you to file a non-provisional application in future.

You have to be very careful with the particulars of filing a provisional patent application. Make sure that you mention each and everything that your invention features. If your product has something which you haven’t described in your application then you will have a hard luck enjoying the benefits of provisional patent application as it only reserves the place for the invention the way you described it in your application. If there’s anything new that is realised at the stage of non-provisional application then it will have to go back in the queue.

Benefits of Provisional Patent Applications

Let's quickly take a walk down each of these below-mentioned benefits of provisional patent apologies that shouldn’t be missed out on-

    • ● They hardly require you to take formal and legal steps.
      ● Since they come bearing a 12-month period, you have a plenteous amount of time to evaluate your invention.
      ● They are efficient.
      ● They are less expensive.
      ● You have a room for the promotion of your product.
      ● Adds another year of protection for the invention.

  • What Is a Non-Provisional Patent?

    While a provisional patent application is easy, informal and fast-paced to file, a non-provisional patent is right opposite of that. It is long, intricate and quite tough-on-the-head to file. When you reach the stage of a non-provisional application, you have to go through a long document. It comprises a number of parts and these areas come with numerous norms. An ideal non-provisional patent is not less than a formal gathering where you come across unwanted rules and the risk of getting into trouble if you go against any of them.

    But all the non-provisional application hassle is worthwhile in the end.. Unlike a provisional patent application. You can issue a non-provisional patent into an enforceable claim unlike the case of provisional patent application.

    Your invisible ink pen featuring the specific techniques and special advantages is only under the protection after you get your non-provisional patent issued by the United States Patent Services and Trademark Office. Once this part is covered, anyone who uses a pen with the same specifications will be infringing your patent.

    Benefits of Non-Provisional Patent Applications

    These are the benefits of non-provisional patent applications that will make you want to go for it (even if they insist upon mentioning all the significant details, are performed by a number of rules, and need time to file)-

    • ● Have enforceable claims that protect your property.
      ● Grant you special rights to monetize your invention and enjoy profits.
      ● Enable you to lodge a lawsuit against an infringer.
  • Difference Between a Provisional Patent Application and a Non-Provisional Application

    The introductory difference between a provisional application and a non-provisional application is that there is no specific examination for a provisional patent application. On the other hand, the non-provisional patent application is to undergo scrutinisation.

    Here are some of the key differences between a provisional and non-provisional patent application-

    ● Fees-

    The non-provisional patent filling fees are higher than the provisional patent application.

    ● Legal guidance-

    It is not a challenge to submit a provisional application on your own. Since it’s simple and not bound to any particular format, you do necessarily need any legal help. On the other hand, filing a provisional application requires a lawyer.

    ● Active Time-

    Filing a provisional patent application demands that you submit a non-provisional application in not more than a year whereas in case of filing a non-provisional patent application, the date of filing will be counted as day one of the 20-year long term. There’s no such factor when it comes to a provisional patent application filing.

    ● Confidentiality-

    Provisional patent applications do not count as public records. They are rather confidential documents that can only be accessed by USPTO.

    ● Purpose-

    Filing a provisional patent application will lead to the filing of a non-provisional patent application. But in case of a non-provisional one, the end result will be the issuance of a patent.

    Cost of Provisional and Non-Provisional Patent Applications

    Once your patent has been accepted, the next thing you have to be ready with is payment of the patent issuance fee which can cost you hundreds of dollars.

    Typically, patent applications are constituted by these three types of fees:

    • 1. Patent Office filing fees
      2. Attorney fees
      3. Drawing fees
  • Now let us draw an idea about the cost of a provisional patent application and the cost of a non-provisional patent application.

    How Much Does a Provisional Patent Cost?

    The provisional patent application fee is computed around $130 in case of a small business. In this, a single page of drawings costs between $100 and $120.
    The preparation and filing of high-quality provisional applications in case of an electrical/ mechanical device can typically cost between $2,500 to $3,000.

    Know that the rate quoted to file a provisional patent application depends largely on the complexity of the invention as well as the technology used.

    Type of Cost Small Complex
    Filing & Preparation $130 $3,000
    Attorney Fees $8,000 $10,000

    How Much Does it Cost to File a Non-Provisional Patent Application?

    Filing and preparing a relatively simple application for a small firm cost about $8,000 which gives 10 claims along with a 10-page specification. A complex chem or biotech invention cost around $15,000 whereas a complex mechanical engineering invention bills you for about $11,000.

    After the approval of a patent by USPTO, you have to pay an issue fee which is $2,070 as of now in case of a larger company. On the other hand, smaller companies only have to pay $1,185.

    Type of Cost Small Complex
    Filing & Preparation $8,000 $15,000
    Attorney Fees $15,000 $25,000

    Provisional Vs Non-Provisional Patent- Which Patent Should You File?

    You should go for both of them. When you have a good idea with a range of specifications and designs and you specify all of them in your provisional application then you will have an entire year to examine as many of them as possible. You will have time to make drawings for the non-provisional application on the basis of the specifications that engage the user and fulfil the purpose.

    Additionally you can leverage that time into finding a partner to patent your product. You can test the product with the help of other users and check if they like your offerings. Not only that, you can even send it to the business development office and manufactures.

    Overall, you will have an year to invest in the product after which you will be able to conclude the following aspects-

    • ● Is your invention good to go?
      ● Is it worth all the expenditures and running uphill to file a non-provisional patent application?
  • Provisional and non-provisional patents are significantly different from each other. If you incorporate both of them for your patent process, you can expect them to turn out to be a terrific way to make the best of your invention and earn the patent that you deserve.

    An important note here is that if you file an application for a provisional patent, you will use the provisional status in order to apply for a non-provisional utility patent. During your 12-month provisional period, if you test and realise that your invention resonates more with the design patent norms then you will need to file an application for a design patent which has nothing to do with your provisional utility patent application.

    What Happens If You Don’t File a Provisional Patent or a Non-Provisional Patent Application?

    In case you are not filing either a provisional patent application or non-provisional patent application, you must fathom one or more risks that can occur.

    Here's what happens if you opt out of the idea to file any one of these two applications-

    • ● You may lose the chance to get a patent- You disclose your invention in public then this could lead to you losing the opportunity to ever file for a patent for it. It must be noted that it is legally required to file the patent application within 12 months before you share it publicly.
      ● Your idea may get stolen- Another danger of not applying for a patent application is your idea getting stolen. Once it is stolen, it’d be hardly possible for you to prove that you came up with this invention first unless you have documents as a proof. This is when filing a provisional application can come to your rescue. You can count on a provisional patent application to prove that you came up with this idea first.
  • Whether you think it of use or not- in the end the idea is to protect your idea which both the applications are capable of covering. At last, what matters is that your idea is novel (fresh and original), useful and it is not obvious. You cannot bargain on these attributes for qualifying for a patent.

    Whatever option you choose, make sure that it meets your requirements. Above that, make sure that you have done all the weighing of pros and cons as well the risk that may come wrapped during the effect of your call.

    And you are good to go.