There are several reasons inventors file provisional patent applications. Most inventors are anxious to obtain a filing date at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). After all, we are now on the “first to file” patent system.
Some inventors are not certain about all of the features of their invention or they are not quite sure about how a feature of their invention will function. Filing a provisional patent application affords inventors the ability to obtain patent pending status and then seek the help of manufactures, engineers or prototype developers to help design or test the invention. Inventors can also test the market and seek investors to finance their invention. Time flies when you’re having fun, right? Well, time also flies after filing a provisional patent application!
Save the date! Your provisional patent application expires one year after the filing date. This means you have one year to file any US or foreign patent applications prior to the expiration of your provisional patent application to claim the benefit of the provisional patent application filing date. This is critical because after the provisional patent application expires, you may be barred from ever filing a patent application to protect your invention.
What are you doing to ensure your provisional patent applications don’t expire?