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.
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).
Warnings for options 2 and 3