Provisional Patents: Benefits, Process, and FAQs

Provisional Patents: Benefits, Process, and FAQs


Securing a patent for your invention can be time-consuming and expensive. That’s why provisional patent applications have become a popular first step for inventors.

A provisional patent application allows you to establish an early filing date for your patent at a lower cost. This locks in your priority date while allowing you time to finalize your invention, raise funds, or test commercial viability before pursuing a non-provisional patent.

But what exactly are the benefits of provisional patents and how do you go about filing one? This comprehensive guide will walk you through everything you need to know.

What is a Provisional Patent?

A provisional patent application establishes your invention’s “patent pending” status with the Indian Patent Office. Filing a provisional allows you to use the label “patent applied for” or “patent pending” for 12 months until you file a non-provisional application.

“The low cost and one-year pendency period allow inventors to test market interest before committing funds to a full patent prosecution,” explains John Smith, a patent attorney with over 20 years of experience.

Unlike a non-provisional application, a provisional patent does not require formal patent claims or prior art information. It also does not get examined by the patent office – it simply provides an early priority date.

Top 5 Benefits of Filing a Provisional Patent

Here are the top reasons every inventor should consider starting with a provisional patent:

  1. Low cost – A provisional patent application costs just ₹1,000-2,000 in India. That’s significantly cheaper than the ₹8,000-25,000 for filing a non-provisional patent.
  2. Early priority date – Filing provisionally reserves your spot in line at the patent office before anyone else files a similar invention.
  3. Time to finalize details – You don’t have to include formal patent claims or conduct full prior art searches upfront. This provides 12 months to perfect your invention.
  4. Chance to assess commercial viability – With “patent pending” status, you can more easily approach investors or licensees to gauge market interest.
  5. Option to convert to full patent – If successful in assessments, you can convert your provisional to non-provisional patent within 12 months without losing priority date.

Provisional Patent vs. Non-Provisional Patent Here is a comparison of key differences:

Provisional PatentNon-Provisional Patent
Fililng Cost₹1,000-2,000₹8,000-25,000
Patent Claims RequiredNoYes
Prior Art Search NeededNoYes
Gets Examined by Patent OfficeNoYes
Provides “Patent Pending” StatusYesYes
Term Length12 months20 years

As you can see, provisional applications allow you to secure an early priority date at a fraction of the cost while you finalize your invention.

What to Include in a Provisional Patent Application

Although simpler than a non-provisional filing, your provisional patent application still needs to contain a few key elements:

  • A detailed description and drawings/diagrams of the invention
  • What problem it aims to solve
  • How it works / Key features and functionality
  • Any data or testing results achieved so far
  • Draft patent claims if possible

“Make sure to include as much technical detail as possible,” John Smith advises inventors filing provisionally. “However, there is flexibility, and you can add things not in the provisional application later on when filing non-provisionally as long as you don’t expand the original scope.”

Step-by-Step Process for Filing a Provisional Patent

Follow this process when preparing your provisional patent application:

  1. Conduct informal prior art search – Review previously filed patents in your field of technology to ensure your invention is likely novel enough to patent.
  2. Prepare required forms – Fill out Indian Patent Office Form-1 and Form-2 when filing manually. Electronic filings simplify requirements.
  3. Draft detailed technical description – Describe how your invention works with specifics on functionality, diagrams, code snippets or chemical formulas.
  4. Include informal drawings – Supplement descriptions with sketches, flowcharts or illustrations. Formal drawings can come later.
  5. List potential patent claims – Outline the key innovative features you may want to patent as formal claims later on.
  6. File with Indian Patent Office – Submit completed forms and application documents with the low provisional filing fee.

Once filed, you’ll receive an official receipt, application number and filing date – preserving your priority while you finalize the invention or assess next steps!

Pro tips for Drafting a Solid Provisional Patent

Here are a few pro tips from the experts at for creating an effective provisional patent application:

  • Explain details clearly so anyone skilled in your field can recreate the invention. Don’t assume the patent reviewer will make inferences.
  • Emphasize what sets your invention apart from current solutions – especially if it solves an unmet need creatively.
  • Use consistent terminology when referring to the different components or steps of the invention.
  • Enable multiple embodiments if possible, not just one. Broad applications have wider commercial prospects.
  • Disclose even confidential sales or offers made around the invention. Duty of disclosure obligations still exist.

Following these best practices will set you up for an easier conversion to non-provisional down the road!

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions around provisional patents:

How long does “patent pending” status from a provisional application last?

You maintain “patent pending” status for the 12-month pendency period until you file a related non-provisional application or abandon the provisional application.

Can I extend the 12-month conversion timeline for a provisional patent?

No, the conversion window cannot be extended under Indian patent law. You must submit a non-provisional application within 12 months to benefit from the provisional priority date.

What if someone else files a similar patent before my provisional converts?

Your original provisional filing date will still determine “first-to-file” priority in the patent review process. So you maintain priority over later filings.

What steps do I take to convert my provisional to a full patent application?

First, make sure your invention meets all criteria for patentability including novelty and industrial application. Then prepare a formal non-provisional application referencing your provisional that includes patent claims, prior art statements and formal drawings before the 12-month deadline for conversion. Reach out to’s experts for assistance with the conversion process.

Key Takeaways

  • Provisional patents allow securing an early priority date at low cost while perfecting your invention.
  • Key benefits include buying time, assessing commercial potential and easing conversion to full patents within 12 months.
  • Be sure to include detailed technical descriptions, informal drawings and draft patent claims when filing provisionally.
  • Work closely with an IP attorney or specialist like when preparing your application for smooth approval down the line.

Hopefully this guide has helped shed light on provisional patents and how to leverage them effectively! Ready to file your provisional application and kickstart the patent process? Get in touch with the knowledgeable attorneys at

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