Obtaining a Provisional Patent

A provisional patent is somewhat like obtaining a placeholder patent. The provisional patent is an initial patent, that is similar to a regular patent and is subject to most patent infringement laws, but it will not turn into a typical patent with all the patent rights until the applicant takes additional steps. The U.S. Patent Office has high regulations regarding provisional patents and won’t hand over a provisional patent unless it meets U.S. Patent Office requirements.

A provisional patent is still protected under many of the same patent infringement laws as it becomes a matter of public record. This means that within a reasonable time frame the provisional patent holder still has the right to file with the U.S. Patent Office and obtain a regular patent.

Someone searching through provisional patents would have to wait until the provisional patent ran out before they could attain a patent for the same idea, otherwise they would be guilty of patent infringement. While it is not necessary to retain a patent lawyer in order to apply for a provisional patent, due to the time and costs involved with filing for a provisional patent that has already been obtained by someone else, many people hire a patent lawyer before proceeding, especially large firms and companies.

A provisional patent is not the same thing as patent pending, although it is similar and once again falls under many of the same patent infringement laws. Patent lawyers recommend filing for a provisional patent first in many cases if the patent desired has a high likelihood of becoming someone else’s very good idea. It is all a matter of timing with many patents.

The U.S. Patent Office generally only permits provisional patents for a short time before the provisional patent holder is then required to take additional steps to obtain a regular patent. If the provisional patent holder fails to do so, then the next applicant if free to file for a patent without violating patent infringement laws.

A patent lawyer can thoroughly explain all the details between a provisional patent and a regular patent. A patent lawyer can also determine whether a patent applicant is better served filing for a provisional patent first. It is not always in someone’s best interest to file for a provisional patent with the U.S. Patent Office. In cases where it is unclear what will best serve the inventor, a patent lawyer is highly recommended.

A provisional patent is only good for one year after the filing date, and in some cases can actually become detrimental to the inventor. There are laws regarding patent infringement, which are quite complicated and require a patent lawyer to interpret them, that require a patent application to present an idea that is completely novel and original.

Not all countries follow the same patent infringement laws and a provisional patent can potentially allow the leakage of information way too early for novel ideas that are destined for extreme popularity. Again, understanding the nuances of patent infringement law takes a well established patent lawyer and shouldn’t be second guessed by an individual inventor who may accidentally be risking their bread and butter based on a misinterpretation of patent infringement law.

Private inventors have confessed that hiring a patent lawyer was expensive, but not nearly as expensive as the mistake they would have made in filing with the U.S. Patent Office too early.

Premature filing with the U.S. Patent Office can be just as detrimental as not filing at all in some cases. Of course, every inventor is different, and some have a very thorough understanding of patent infringement laws. However, the U.S. Patent Office does change policies and patent infringement law is a living breathing entity with chronic changes and applicable differences that require professional interpretation.

A patent lawyer can explain the variance in the importance of filing dates for a provisional patent which can play a critical role in the successful transition from a provisional patent to a non-provisional patent. A simple lapse in timing can really create a loss for the patent filer. The U.S. Patent Office governs itself by a very strict set of rules which are likely to frustrate a would be first time patent holder.

Patent infringement laws are very stringent as well, and allows the U.S. Patent Office to be so tightly organized. This offers an equal playing field for patent applicants. Exceptions to patent infringement law would create patent pandemonium, which would be highly chaotic for inventors and potential patent holders.

Nick Johnson, lead counsel and founding partner of Johnson Law Group, represents individuals or companies with cases involving patent infringement. Find more information at http://www.toppatentinfringementattorneys.com or http://www.toppatentinfringementlawyers.com or call 1-888-311-5522


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