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Provisional Patent Applications: What You Need To Know, Part 10

How To Avoid Provisional Patent Application Scams. Be Deeply Suspicious of Service Fees Of Less Than $3,000: According to the AIPLA, the average service fee for drafting and filing a provisional patent application is about $4,000. Why are they so much lower? Would you rather pay $4,000 for a provisional patent application that might protect your invention or $3,000 for a pretty, but useless provisional patent application? Is it worth risking your invention, your business, and your projected profits to save a couple of hundred dollars? Look For Your Claims: Scam artists and disreputable patent attorneys delight in telling people that provisional patent applications do not technically require claims. Similarly, you are not technically required to wear a parachute when jumping out of a plane at 30,000 feet. But isn’t a good idea? The claims define your invention. No Claims = No Invention. Your claims are only part of the patent application that will protect your invention. No Claims Language = No Written Description = No Priority Date = No Protection. Any reputable patent attorney will start the application drafting process by drafting your claims and then building the application to support your claims. Look on the last couple of…

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Provisional Patent Applications: What You Need To Know, Part 9

Provisional Patent Application + Greedy Patent Attorney = Useless Provisional Patent Application. These scams create a problem of sticker shock. According to the AIPLA (American Intellectual Property Law Association) 2015 survey, the median cost of having a patent attorney draft and file a provisional patent application ranges from $2,000 to $6,000. It is just too difficult for many startups and entrepreneurs to pay this price after seeing so many advertisements on Google or in magazines that promise to prepare and file a provisional patent application for just $100 to $3,000. This is where the greedy, lazy patent attorney comes in. There are some patent attorneys who could do a good job, but choose not to. All that have to do is to quickly draft something that could fool the untrained eye into believing that the provisional patent application will protect their invention. Then they can charge $1000 - 4,000 and pocket the difference. These sleazy patent attorneys know that they will not be caught because provisional patent applications are not published, most provisional patent applications are not relied on or examined, and even if they are, over 75% of startups fail. I guess it’s just too tempting for them to…

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Provisional Patent Applications: What You Need To Know, Part 8

Provisional Patent Application Scams: Reading This Page Can Save Your Invention And Thousands Of Dollars. Don't Let This Happen To You! The founder of a startup contacted me for a free, no-obligation consultation. He was founding a tech startup company based on his own invention. He paid an out of state patent attorney $500 to draft and file a provisional patent application for him. After filing his provisional patent application, he spent the next year pitching his invention to investors and potential customers. He came to me because he wanted a local patent attorney to file a U.S. utility patent application based on his provisional patent application. I took a look at his provisional patent application so that I could provide him with an accurate estimate. When I Saw Left Me Stunned! His provisional patent application looked like little more an abstract. There were no claims. There was no description of how to make and use the claimed invention. It probably looked great to the untrained eye, but to the trained eye, it was completely useless. His provisional patent application wasn't worth the paper it was written on. Oh wait! It gets worse! The founder thought that the provisional patent…

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Provisional Patent Applications: What You Need To Know, Part 7

How To File A Provisional Patent Application? You can hire a U.S. patent attorney, like me, to draft and file your provisional patent application for you, OR You can file it for yourself. Due the complexity of patent law, I highly recommend hiring a U.S. patent attorney or U.S. patent agent to draft and file your provisional patent application for you unless you are prepared to spend a lot to time and money learning how to competently draft your own patent applications. While I cannot guarantee that my services are a good fit for your needs, why not call me to see if I can bring some value to what you are doing? If you decide to draft and file your own provisional patent application, here are some resources for you. A provisional patent application can be filed by mailing the application, coversheet, and fee to: Commissioner for Patents, P.O. Box 1450, Alexandria, VA 22313-1450. A provisional patent application can also be electronically filed. For general guidance on filing a provisional patent application yourself, click here.

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Provisional Patent Applications: What You Need To Know, Part 6

How Much Does A Provisional Patent Application Cost? The answer to this question mostly depends who drafts and files your provisional patent application as well as the size of your business. Governmental Fees: The USPTO governmental fees for filing a provisional patent application are: $260 for a large entity (generally a business with more than 500 employees), $130 for a small entity (generally less than 500 employees), $65 for a micro entity (generally university related, non-for-profit, or no inventors had filed 4 or more patent applications). USPTO fees change over time. These were current on July 14, 2016. Patent Attorney Fees: According to the 2015 AIPLA annual survey, the service fees for having professional U.S. patent attorney or U.S. patent agent prepare your provisional patent application average from $2,000 to $6,000, depending greatly on the patent attorney you choose. Typically, biotech, chemical, and electronic patent applications cost more to draft.

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Provisional Patent Applications: What You Need To Know, Part 5

Why Should You File A Provisional Patent Application? To get the earliest filing date possible while giving you a year to develop your invention, evaluate the market, and put off costs. To Establish A Priority Date: You do not need to file a provisional patent application to get the earliest filing date possible. You can get the earliest filing date by filing a provisional patent application, a non-provisional utility patent application, or a PCT application. All three can establish your priority date. To Improve Your Invention: Provisional patent applications can make it easy for you to improve your concept of your invention when you file a non-provisional patent application (i.e. the “real” patent application). In contrast, a utility patent application and a PCT application do not allow you to easily change or add to the conception of your claimed invention. You are stuck with whatever you filed. Almost all changes would need to be added by filing another utility patent application or a PCT application. To Evaluate The Market: Basically, the provisional patent application gives entrepreneurs, startups, small businesses, and universities one year of secrecy to develop the invention, evaluate the market for the invention, and pitch the invention to…

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Provisional Patent Applications: What You Need To Know, Part 4

When Should You File A Provisional Patent Application? This answer depends on your situation. Technically, a provisional patent application can be filed at any time, because there are nearly no filing requirements and provisional patent applications are not examined unless you file a non-provisional patent application. However, just because you can file a provisional patent application at any time, doesn’t make it a good idea. The filing requirements for a provisional patent application are so low that you can literally pick up a random piece of paper on your desk and file it as a provisional patent application. The USPTO processes and holds all provisional patent applications the same, regardless of content. This is why there are so many provisional patent application scams. The timing of when to file a provisional patent application is a tradeoff. As Soon As Possible: Many inventors prefer to file a provisional patent application as soon as one or more inventors can describe how to make and use the invention as it will be described in the claims to avoid getting scooped. This strategy is great for winning the “race to the patent office.” However, you will only get protection for the invention as claimed…

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Provisional Patent Applications: What You Need To Know, Part 2

What Is A Provisional Patent Application? A provisional patent application is a 12 month “placeholder” for your invention. A provisional patent application is a legal document that can help you “win the race to the patent office.” However, a provisional patent application does NOT directly result in a patent. Instead, a provisional patent application is a legal document that can establish the priority date for your invention if and when you file a non-provisional patent application (i.e. a “real” patent application) within 12 months of filing the provisional patent application. In other words, a provisional patent application is a legal document that is designed to prove that you invented your invention before someone else files a patent application, publishes something, or does something that would destroy or limit your patent rights. Filing a provisional patent application in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is like sending the USPTO an email saying, “Dear USPTO: I think that I have invented something that may be valuable. I may or may not file a patent application to protect it within the next year. I am sending you this description of my invention to make it harder for people to steal my invention…

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Provisional Patent Applications: What You Need To Know, Part 1

Provisional Patent Application: Warning! Over 97% Of Patents Are Worthless. But The Right One Can Be Worth Millions Of Dollars Per Year. Read This Before You File. An invention is just an idea. An invention that gives you a market advantage is an idea that is worth protecting. The right patent can turn your invention into your most valuable asset by granting you a multi-year monopoly over your market advantage. That’s an advantage that you can build a business on. But most patents are worthless. If you want to make money with a patent, you are going to have to read, think, and find the right patent attorney for you. Provisional Patent Applications: A Tech Startup’s Best Friend and Worst Enemy Who Can File A Provisional Patent Application? One or more inventors or assignees (owners) can file a provisional patent application OR they can hire a patent attorney to file it for them. The purpose of a provisional patent application is to secure a priority date for a non-provisional patent application, such as a U.S. utility patent application or a PCT application. The only ones who can file a non-provisional patent application for an invention are people who contributed to…

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