Filing provisional patent application

Filing provisional patent application online does not have to be a difficult task.   In order to be valid and to get an official filing date recorded by the US Patent Office, your  provisional patent application must include:

  • A coversheet that lists names of the inventors, their residence city/state, and details about the application
  • A written description of the invention (this is called the “Specification”)
  • Drawings or figures necessary to show your invention
  • A payment of the filing fee (currently $125 for most inventors

There are two methods for filing provisional patent application:

  1. Hire a registered patent attorney or patent agent.  I would search Google for patent attorneys or agents in your area and then make sure they are on the US Patent Office approved list
  2. Do it yourself

There are advantages and disadvantages to each option.  My personal opinion is that someone who does enough research is quite capable of writing their own provisional patent application.  Once the provisional patent application expires at the end of 12 months, a non-provisional patent must be filed.  At that point I would suggest hiring a qualified patent attorney or agent to draft and file the patent.  Hopefully you have used those 12 months to further validate your invention and business model and the high cost of hiring an attorney will be justified.

This guide is for people who want to write and file provisional patent applications themselves.  The risk of doing it yourself is that your patent may not have enough information or be written well enough to stand up in court.  If you hire an attorney or agent, they should have enough experience to create a proper, legal patent application for you. View our Services page if you would like some professional help.

Ready to get started?

  1. Let me first suggest you read everything about provisional patents on this site (if you haven't already) and starting from the beginning.
  2. Already read everything and are confident a provisional patent is the right choice for you?   Then read: How to File a Provisional Patent