| So, you are considering filing a provisional patent with the USPTO. This task most certainly can be taken up by persons who are not experts at patent writing – however a few words of caution and suggestion can lead you to a better result. |
Put everything into the application
First and foremost, you should understand that the form and format is wide open. Use this to your advantage. For example, you can include 100 drawings if you like. You can write many pages in any organization which is convenient. For example, Power Point slides often have bulleted lists rather than sentences. While typically these are quite ambiguous and not amenable to the patent system where things are usually more discrete, in a provisional application it all adds up to support the final disclosure. I’d put as much as you’ve got. Price lists, marketing materials, engineering drawings, photos, experimental notes, it is all good for the provisional patent disclosure. Provisional patent applications biggest failure is a result of a shortage of information. In view of this, one should consider putting everything one can gather into the provisional application. It can all be relied upon later to establish a solid invention date – even where that material is not well organized. Remember, there is no penalty for too much disclosure – there is a severe penalty (loss of priority) for too little disclosure.
File it Yourself
While you can pay an expert to help you put the material together, it is actually very easy indeed to file yourself. Of course, a trained professional might be able to manage a more complete well organized document, nothing prevents inventors from setting forth excellent basis from which a non-provisional application can be derived. The forms which should be attached to the description are very brief and easy to prepare. The one time fee is low can be paid by check. Provisional Help Kits
There are many kits and programs and software which might purport to assist your preparation of a provisional application. These are generally unnecessary. But, some are also inexpensive and do provide useful tips. Whether you choose to buy one of these is personal choice, but you can easily use the provisional program with very good success while avoiding this extra expense.
It is typical for all inventors to continue inventing after a provisional is first filed. Don’t worry about this. A provisional is not very expensive. You can simple take an old provisional, add new pages with more details and more description and file it as a separate provisional any time after the original was filed. You can file two non-provisionals, each one year after their corresponding provisional, or you can file just one non-provisional patent – no more than 12 months from the first filing – that application having dependence upon both earlier filed provisional applications. In this way, you can assure that your improvements developed during the year can also be protected via the provisional program without having too many expensive patent applications at the end.
Don’t file the non-provisional too late
Finally, don’t wait all 364 days before telling your patent attorney about your need to file the full application. If you leave little time before the deadline, your patent attorney will have difficulty preparing a good quality non-provisional application. It is best to leave at least 30 days as anything else might not easily fit into her calendar and cause an ‘emergency’ filing – and sometimes attracting extra fees.