Provisional patent applications must be written well to be effective.
A provisional patent application is a somewhat abbreviated application, and is therefore less expensive to prepare. But it must still contain enough information and the invention must be described clearly and accurately to firmly establish your priority toward getting a patent.
The United States patent system now a ‘first to file’ system. This means that the first person to file their patent application correctly gets priority over someone who files later.
A provisional patent application can be used to establish priority for you as the first inventor of your idea. But to defeat another inventor who files after you, your description must be complete and accurate. This way – even if another person filed their own patent application after you, they won’t be able to undermine your claim for priority by showing that your description was insufficient.
One effective use of a provisional patent application is to allow you to safely discuss your idea with others, to determine whether it is worthy of further investment and whether it is worth going all the way to a utility patent.
Another effective use of a provisional patent application is to establish your rights in your idea so that you can safely work with others to develop it further.
We can help you determine whether filing a provisional patent application should be part of your patenting and product development strategy.