How to Maximize Value from a U.S. Provisional Patent Application


As scientists, companies, and research institutions from Taiwan invest substantial time and money in research and development, patent protection of their inventions becomes increasingly important. This article aims to provide more information regarding the preparation and filing of a provisional patent application at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) and how the applicants can maximize value from using this type of application. The article also outlines when applicants should bypass the provisional application and file only a nonprovisional application.

A provisional application provides an opportunity to secure an early priority date, but without all of the official fees and filing complexity of a nonprovisional application. The filing requirements in the USPTO for a provisional application is less formal than a non-provisional application, and the government fee for filing a provisional application is also much less. In addition, the USPTO does not examine provisional applications or require a declaration/power of attorney or information disclosure statement. Applicants can use the additional time to evaluate the commercial potential of the invention without jeopardizing their rights and can delay attorney fees for prosecution. A provisional application is preserved in confidence without publication by the USPTO. During the one year provisional application term, applicants are permitted to use the "Patent Pending" notice in connection with the description of the invention and can commercially promote the invention with greater security.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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