One of the more frequent questions I get asked is “Can I extend provisional patent application?” or “Can I renew provisional patent application”.   The short answer to this question is “NO”.  However, there are some tricks and other cheap options which may work for you instead.

First a quick reminder that a provisional patent application can only last for one year and then it expires.  This means that you must file your full utility or non-provisional application within that 1-year time period.  So if you filed your provisional on June 1, 2015 you have until June 1, 2016 to file the full non-provisional.

extend-provisional-patent

Once your one (1) year time period is over, your provisional will expire and you cannot renew or extend it.    However, here are some options the may work for you:

 

Options instead of Extending a Provisional Patent Application

Option 1:  File the full non-provisional within 14 months of your provisional date and petition to have this late claim accepted.  Warning:   This option is only available if your delay was "unintentional" and it comes with a steep price tag of at least $850 in addition to all the other filing fees at the USPTO.

Option 2*:  Re-file a copy of your provisional.  Note that this will give you a brand new filing date and essentially re-start your 1-year clock.  The advantage of this is that its cheap and easy.  There are some huge risks and drawbacks to this though (see my Warning message below).

Option 3*:  File a new provisional that includes all of your old stuff plus any new stuff you have added over the past year.   Like option 2 this is cheap and easy but comes with some big risks (see Warning message below).

For both options 2 and 3 this assumes your invention is either still secret or was made public or first sold less than a year ago.  If your invention was made public or sold more than a year ago options 2 and 3 are not available to you.

Warnings for options 2 and 3

 

*WARNING - the risk of re-filing a provisional patent application again and again is that each time you start with a brand new filing date and you cannot link the applications together.  Most of the time this is okay, however, there are times when your competition may invent an identical or similar device and may be able to "jump ahead of you in line" at the patent office or possible block your patent from being allowed.  For example, if you filed your first provisional in March 2013 and it expired in March 2014 and your competition invented a similar device in April 2014 and started selling it online, then if we re-filed your new provisional application in June 2014, the the patent office could use your competition's April 2014 invention to block you from getting a patent because your filing date would be seen as June 2014 (i.e. after their invention).
Read More:   Check out our sample patent and invention timeline here
Extend or Renew Provisional Patent Application (PPA) was last modified: June 29th, 2016 by Brad Fach

Free USPTO Provisional Patent Template

My personal provisional patent template used to file over 200 patent applications with the USPTO