If you’re a business owner or an inventor, you probably understand the importance of patents. They play a pivotal role in safeguarding inventions and providing legal protection to their creators. However, it’s important to choose the right kind of patent for your specific invention. There are two types of patents that you can choose between: a provisional patent and a non-provisional patent.
But what are these and how will you know if you’re choosing the right one for your needs? The attorneys at Emerson Thomson Bennett explain.
What Do Patents Do?
Simply put, a provisional patent offers a temporary safeguard, allowing inventors to establish an early filing date. A non-provisional patent, on the other hand, provides full protection with a comprehensive examination.
As the owner of intellectual property or an invention, it is crucial you make the right choice as it will determine the scope of protection your patent offers. It will also impact the duration of the patent and the subsequent patent application process.
What Is a Provisional Patent?
A provisional patent is a type of patent application filed with a patent office to secure a filing date for an invention. It provides a one-year window during which inventors can explore and refine their inventions before filing a non-provisional (regular) patent application.
There are several advantages to filing a provisional patent:
#1. Establishing a Priority Date
Filing a provisional patent will mean establishing an early priority date, which can be crucial in determining patent rights. It will help protect your invention against those who may file similar patents after your filing date.
#2. Temporary Patent Protection
A provisional patent offers temporary protection by allowing you to use the “patent-pending” label, preventing potential infringements. It provides a legal foothold while you further develop your invention, seek funding, or explore commercialization options.
#3. Lower Costs and Simplified Filing Requirements
Filing a provisional patent is generally less expensive compared to a non-provisional patent. The filing requirements are less stringent, allowing inventors to focus on explaining the core aspects of their invention.
Types of Provisional Patents
Having said that, you should also know about the following considerations of provisional patents before making your choice.
#1. Limited Duration and Lack of Enforceability
A provisional patent may last only for a year without granting any enforceable patent rights on its own. To fully protect your invention, you’ll still have to convert the provisional application into a non-provisional patent within the applicable timeframe.
#2. Incomplete Specification Requirements
Provisional patents have fewer rigid requirements for detailed specifications, making it easier to file initially. However, a detailed and accurate description is essential when converting to a non-provisional patent.
Importance of Converting to a Non-Provisional Patent
Failing to convert a provisional patent to a non-provisional patent can result in losing your patent, priority date, and potential patent rights. Converting allows you to undergo a thorough examination process and strengthens your chances of obtaining a patent that will protect your ownership of your invention.
Consulting an experienced patent litigation attorney can be beneficial when navigating the complexities of the patent process. They can help by maximizing the protection of your invention.
What Is a Non-Provisional Patent?
A non-provisional patent is a type of patent application that provides full patent protection for an invention.
Unlike a provisional patent, which serves as a temporary placeholder, a non-provisional patent is a formal application for obtaining a patent. It requires a detailed description of the invention, claims, and other important documentation.
Filing a non-provisional patent initiates the examination process by the patent office. Here are a few benefits of filing a non-provisional patent.
Benefits Of Filing A Non-Provisional Patent
#1. Full Patent Protection and Enforceability
A non-provisional patent offers a high level of legal protection for your invention. It grants you exclusive rights, preventing others from making, using, or selling your invention without your permission. Infringers can be held liable for damages, which can work as a robust deterrent against unauthorized use.
#2. Comprehensive Specification and Claims
Non-provisional patents require a detailed specification that describes the invention’s structure, function, and purpose. These clear and specific claims define the scope of protection, covering various features and embodiments of the invention. Eventually, this documentation will strengthen your position and prevent others from creating similar inventions.
#3. Potential for Licensing and Commercialization
Non-provisional patents also enhance the commercial value of your invention. With a granted patent, you can negotiate licensing agreements with interested parties, allowing them to use your invention in exchange for royalties. It opens doors for partnerships, collaborations, or even attracting investors for further development and commercialization.
Now that you know about the advantages of non-provisional patents, let’s look into some of their considerations as well.
What to Consider Before Opting for Non-Provisional Patents
#1. Thorough Research and Prior Analysis
You’ll need to conduct a comprehensive search to identify any existing inventions or knowledge similar to your invention. Anything that predates your invention is considered “prior art.” Analyze prior art to determine the originality, novelty, and inventiveness of your idea. This can help ensure that your invention is unique and meets the patentability criteria.
#2.Detailed Description and Claims
Make sure to provide a detailed and clear description of your invention in the patent application. Describe its components, functionalities, and potential applications. Craft ironclad claims that precisely outline the scope of your invention’s protection.
#3. Formal Examination Process
Once filed, the non-provisional patent undergoes a formal examination by the patent office. The examiner reviews the application, assesses its novelty and inventiveness, and may request amendments or clarifications. Ensure that you respond promptly to any queries or objections to move the process forward.
Of course, you can always consult a qualified patent litigation attorney to gain a better understanding of the patent system, ensure compliance with requirements, and increase the chances of obtaining a non-provisional patent.
Provisional vs. Non-Provisional Patent: How to Choose the Right Patent for Your Invention
Stuck on provisional vs. non-provisional patents? Wondering which one to choose for your invention? We have some useful tips.
#1. Assess Your Invention’s Stage of Development
Provisional patents are suitable for inventors with early-stage inventions. They provide a lower-cost option for securing a filing date. You get one year to further develop and assess your invention before filing a non-provisional patent.
Non-provisional patents are appropriate for inventions in the advanced stage of development. These patents offer stronger protection and are evaluated by patent examiners. Also, they provide a longer-term solution for inventors looking for comprehensive protection.
#2. Evaluate Your Budget and Resources
As mentioned, provisional patents are generally less expensive to file compared to their non-provisional version. Filing a provisional patent allows you to secure an earlier filing date while you gather resources for a non-provisional patent application.
Non-provisional patents involve higher costs due to legal fees, patent searches, and examination expenses. Consulting with a patent litigation attorney is crucial for evaluating your budget and understanding the patent process.
#3. Balancing Patent Protection and Commercialization Goals
Filing a provisional patent gives you time to refine your invention, conduct market research, and seek potential investors or licensing opportunities. However, it does not grant full patent rights and must be followed by a non-provisional patent application within one year.
Non-provisional patents are necessary when seeking licensing agreements, enforcing patent rights, or defending against potential violations.
Protect Your Invention with the Help of an Experienced Patent Litigation Lawyer
Choosing the right patent for your invention depends on various factors, such as the stage of development, budget, resources, and commercialization goals. A competent patent litigation attorney can guide you on the appropriate patent type based on your invention’s complexity and commercial potential. Their expertise can ensure your patent application meets all legal requirements and increases the chances of successful protection.
Emerson Thomson Bennett is committed to protecting your intellectual property rights, including patents, trademarks, trade secrets, unfair competition, copyrights, and Internet and domain name disputes. Call 330-434-9999 or fill out our online form.