A provisional patent application protects your invention and buys time to file a regular application.

Independent inventors often face a complex problems. Mostly they ask the question of how to present their invention to potential manufacturers without running the risk of the manufacturer “stealing” it.

However, the protection of new inventions during their sale is now been protected by the procedures recently approved by the Congress. ( the provisional patent request;-PPA span)

This article gives some of the basics for provisional patent application.

Table of Content

How to Stop a Manufacturer from “Stealing” Your Invention

Traditional Approaches for Protecting Inventions

What a PPA is and how it differs from a regular patent application

Deciding to File a Provisional Patent Application

How to Stop a Manufacturer from “Stealing” Your Invention

Protect your innovative idea by applying for provisional patent application.

While most potential manufacturers are trustworthy and will play fair, inventors don’t want to depend on this alone when disclosing their inventions. Most manufacturers will not sign binding NDAs before seeing an invention for various reasons.

Traditional Approaches for Protecting Inventions

To resolve this impasse, inventors traditionally used two methods to protect their inventions.

  • Documenting;- It would be best to document the building and testing of your invention. If carefully done, an inventor can later discredit the manufacturer’s claim that they are the actual inventor to attempt a ripoff.
  • Patent Request;- Before selling an invention, an inventor can file a regular patent request. Issuing a patent may lead to an infringement creating an opening for a lawsuit. As a result, few manufacturers would risk taking advantage of an invention.

Problems with Traditional Approaches

The above-referred approaches are fraught with problems. For example, independent inventors have difficulty creating and testing inventions based on complex technologies like biotechnology, software development, and nanotechnology. Moreover, filing a regular patent application can be a tedious task and may prove costly if you use an attorney.

The solution: Filing a Provisional Patent App

Congress offers inventors another option like filing a provisional patent application on the invention (PPA). A PPA is a way for an investor to claim pending patent status for 12 months. However, it requires a fraction of the time and costs of a regular application for a patent.

A provisional patent application comprises text and drawings. These documents describe how you intend to use your invention. This is a brief document, often 5-10 pages long written in plain English with little or no technical language.

An effective filing of your invention presides this. You can then use the term “patent in process” to refer to your invention for at least 12 months after that date. To prove your invention was before other similar developments, you can file a regular application for a patent within one year.

How PPA differs from a regular patent application

It is cheaper. 

One PPA costs $110 ($220 if you are a large company). This amount is far less than the thousands to tens or tens of thousands of dollars it takes to conduct a patent search. It is also less than what patent lawyers require to prepare a complete patent application.

It’s much more straightforward.

The provisional application does not grant you a patent. While you decide whether you wish to file for a regular or provisional patent, the PPA allows you to preserve your rights.

However, if you desire the regular patent and its benefits, you must file a regular request within one year of filing your provisional. The United States Patent and Trademark Office must also approve the patent.

Deciding to File a Provisional Patent Application

This is how you decide if a provisional patent application is proper for you.

The filing of a provisional Patent Application (PPA) protects your idea. It’s the start of getting a patent. Before you rush to file a PPA, consider whether you are ready.

First, learn about the benefits of filing for a PPA. This will later determine whether your invention will be granted a patent. Last but not least, learn how to avoid the common pitfalls associated with PPAs.

Benefits of Filing A Provisional Patent Application

Understanding the advantages of filing for a PPA is an excellent place to start.

#1. Suitability

It allows you to decide whether a patent is proper for you. After filing the provisional application, you will have one year to file a regular patent application.

This allows you to assess the potential commercial value of your invention. If you get “No thanks” from everyone who sees it, it could be that you decide it is not worth spending the thousands or tens of thousands of dollars to prepare a patent application.

#2. Claim

To prevent others from copying your invention, you will stake a claim on it. The placing of these words on an advertisement or at the bottom of your invention assists in indicating that a claim of the invention is in place. This discourages manufacturers from infringing your idea.

#3. First To Invent Rule

You determine the “date and year of the invention.” The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office follows a “first-to-invent” rule. In case of a dispute, the patent is given to the first inventor.

Although not all inventors have the resources to create prototypes and test them, not all inventors record their creations. Therefore, provisional patent applications are often the most cost-effective and reliable way to establish the date. Your rights will begin from the provisional date, even if the patent is granted later.

#4.Your Invention Is Likely to Be Patented and Make Money

Not all inventions are patentable. A mere half of the annual patent applications result in a patent. However, not all patentable inventions will be successful. Only 3% of patentable inventions make money.

A provisional patent application is not necessary for inventions that are unlikely to be granted a patent or make money. It makes sense to evaluate the potential commercial success of your invention before filing.

Ask these seven questions and only answer “yes” to each. “

1. Is it profitable (that is to say, will it make a profit)? This decision should be made considering factors like competition and potential demand. This information can be gathered by talking to experts or people familiar with the subject.

2. Is it your invention? You can get a patent if your invention is unique. It shouldn’t be your uncle’s coworker or colleague. For example, you can’t get a patent if your late uncle invented the invention. Your uncle’s estate, however, can file ).

3. Are you the owner?

4. You must establish its usefulness. However entertaining, informing, or amusing aesthetic works are, they are not eligible for patent protection. They are however legible by copyright.

5. Are you sure it fits in one of these patent “classes?”

Commonly known Classes

  • Methods and processes, which can be described as one or more steps to doing or making something
  • Machines are defined as devices and things that result from the interaction between parts.
  • Articles are manufactured objects, defined as objects without movable components (e.g., a pencil, a garden rake, or a pencil) or objects with movable but incidental parts (e.g., a safety pin or folding chairs).
  • Compositions are made up of combinations of materials (like chemical compounds) that result in a result. This includes naturally occurring substances that require a long effort to isolate and discover. e.g genes and human-made plants and animals, and
  • Improvements are when an inventor discovers a new way to use an existing invention. For instance, the inventor invents prairie dogs to be removed from their homes by vacuuming.

6. It must be original. To qualify for a patent, an invention must be physically or operationally different from other inventions and knowledge.

7. Is your invention something that isn’t obvious to other inventors or not? First, you need to ask yourself if people in the field would consider your invention obvious.

Problems with Provisional Patent Applications

The advantages give you the morale to start on your provisional application. However, though, you should know that provisional patent applications may not be a panacea.


Inaccuracy results in the cancellation of your protection. For instance, failure to include an element of your invention or fully explain the operation elements subjects your application to rejection. Inaccuracies can also include incorrect supporting data and drawings that do not match the written description.


To make changes to an existing provisional patent application, you must file a PPA. You can modify how your invention works or add technical information not covered by the original PPA. If you wish to protect these changes, you will have to file another one.

Foreign Patents

You must file foreign patent requests within one calendar year. Failure to file foreign patent protection applications within a year of the date of your provisional application will result in you losing any rights to benefit from your filing date in a foreign country.