Finding and downloading provisional patent applications online

Finding and Downloading Provisional Patent Applications


Learn how to find and download provisional patent applications for free from the US Patent Office website. Full video below.

 Key Steps:

  1. Go to the US Patent Office website (

  2. Access the free public patent search tool by clicking on the link in the top right (see video below).

  3. Click on the basic search option.

  4. Search for patents and patent applications filed by a specific owner (e.g., Harvard University).

  5. Identify the published applications by their four-digit year designation.

  6. Copy the patent number of the desired application.

  7. Open a new window and go back to the website.

  8. Access the Patent Center.

  9. Change the search option to “patent number” and paste the copied patent number.

  10. Click on the search button.

  11. Review the patent center screen for the selected patent number.

  12. Click on the “continuity” option to view related applications.

  13. Identify the provisional patent application by its starting number (usually 6-0, 6-1, 6-2, or 6-3).

  14. Click on the provisional patent application to access its documents.

  15. Click on the “preview” button to view the specification or text of the provisional patent application.

  16. To download the provisional patent application as a PDF, click on the download button or select all files and download them.

Cautionary Notes:

  • Ensure that the selected patent application is a provisional patent application and not a published application or a full utility patent application.

  • Double-check the patent number to avoid errors in searching and accessing the correct application.

  • Be cautious when downloading multiple files to avoid confusion and ensure accurate record-keeping.

Tips for Efficiency:

  • Use the owner’s name (e.g., Harvard University) to narrow down the search results.

  • Familiarize yourself with the format of provisional patent application numbers (usually starting with 6) to quickly identify them.

  • Keep track of the downloaded files and their corresponding applications for easy reference and organization.

By following these step-by-step instructions, team members will be able to find and download provisional patent applications accurately and efficiently.