The Ultimate Guide to Provisional Patents in India: Everything You Need to Know in 2024

provisional patent application india

Filing for a patent in India can be a time-consuming and expensive process. That’s why many inventors and companies first file a “provisional patent application” to quickly secure an early filing date for their invention at a lower cost.

A provisional patent application is not a full patent – it lasts for 12 months and allows you to establish a priority date for your patent while giving you time to assess the commercial potential of your invention before spending the time and money to file a full patent.

This comprehensive guide will explain everything you need to know about provisional patents in India – from the benefits to the step-by-step process to costs and beyond. Read on to learn how provisional patents work and determine if a provisional patent makes sense for your invention or idea.

What is a Provisional Patent?

A provisional patent application is a relatively quick and inexpensive way to establish an early effective filing date for your patent in India before your invention is commercialized or disclosed publicly.

The Patent Rules of India provide for filing a provisional specification to provide an early priority date to the invention. According to the Indian Patent Laws, anyone looking to file a complete patent specification may first file a provisional specification. Filing this provisional patent application allows you to obtain an early priority date for your invention.

Key features of a provisional patent application:

  • Lasts for 12 months only
  • Less stringent than full application
  • Establishes early priority date
  • Lower costs than full application
  • Easier and faster to prepare/file
  • Part of complete application process

The provisional patent application will not be examined, so you will not get any intimation from the Patent Office about novelty or inventiveness of your invention. However, you are still able to designate “patent pending” status for your invention during this 12 month period.

After 12 months, the provisional patent application expires and the applicant must file a complete, non-provisional patent application in India within that timeframe to continue the patent process.

Essentially, a provisional patent secures your spot in line while buying you time to perfect your invention, assess its market potential, and raise funding if needed – at a lower initial cost than a full patent application.

Top 5 Benefits of Filing a Provisional Patent in India

1. Quickly Secure Your Filing Date

The patent system in India follows the “first-to-file” system rather than “first-to-invent.” This makes your filing date extremely important – it establishes your priority date and could make or break your chances of getting a patent granted.

Since provisional applications are simpler and faster to prepare than a full patent application, they allow you to quickly get your foot in the door and stake your claim with an earlier effective filing date.

2. Defer Costs to Later Stages

Filing a provisional patent application can cost as little as ₹8,000 in official and professional fees, compared to ₹30,000 or more for a complete application.

Provisional patents let you split upfront costs and spread expenses over the course of the full patent pursuit process. Deferring costs also gives you time to organize financing.

3. Gain Time to Evaluate Commercial Potential

The 12-month pendency period of a provisional patent acts like an intellectual property safety net, buying you time to gauge market reception, build prototypes, court investors/manufacturers, and weigh the best way forward.

You can determine if your invention is commercially viable before sinking more significant funds into the full patent process.

4. Test Technology Before Committing

Along with evaluating business potential, provisional patents give you time to refine and perfect your invention or technology before filing a non-provisional application.

You can use the 12-month period to improve upon your MVP or prototype and ensure your technology is fully ready before investing further.

5. Disclose Invention with Some Safeguards

Seeking manufacturing/funding partners often requires disclosing details about your invention that could compromise novelty if shared publicly.

Provisional patents provide some protection in case any confidential information is inadvertently leaked – third parties would be unable to obtain a patent for your invention in India.

Step-by-Step Process to File a Provisional Patent Application in India

Documents and Forms Needed

Filing a provisional patent application in India requires submitting certain standard forms to the Indian Patent Office, including:

  • Form 1 – Application for Grant of Patent
  • Form 2 – Provisional Specification
  • Form 3 – Statement and Undertaking Regarding Foreign Applications
  • Form 26 – Authorization of Patent Agent (if required)
  • Form 28 – Claiming Small Entity Status (if applicable)

Parts of a Provisional Patent Specification

The provisional patent specification must contain:

  • Title of the invention
  • Description – detailed explanation of the invention

A provisional patent does NOT require:

  • Claims
  • Drawings
  • Abstract

Step-by-Step Filing Process

Follow these key steps to file your provisional patent application in India:

  1. Draft the provisional specification – The specification is the core of your application. Ensure it fully describes your invention.
  2. Prepare requisite forms – Fill out Forms 1, 2, 3, and any other required forms accurately and completely.
  3. Pay the filing fees – The basic government filing fee is ₹1,600 (for small entities) or ₹8,000 (large entities). Add professional fees if using an agent.
  4. Submit application to patent office – File online or submit physical copies to the appropriate Indian patent office branch.
  5. Submit post-filing documents – Provide any additional necessary forms and paperwork within prescribed time limits.

And you’re done! The patent office will provide an application number – your provisional patent application is now on file.

Provisional Patent Costs in India

The costs involved in obtaining a provisional patent in India include:

  • Government fees – ₹1,600 for small entities like startups, individuals, etc. Higher ₹8,000 fee for large entities.
  • Professional charges – Around ₹15,000 on average if using a patent agent or attorney to prepare and file. Can range from ₹6,000 – ₹75,000+ depending on factors like firm experience and location.
  • Responses to office actions – Additional charges if the patent office raises objections or requires clarification.
  • Renewal fees – Not required for provisional patent applications in India.

Overall, expect total costs between ₹10,000 to ₹100,000 for filing and obtaining a provisional patent in India. Cost will vary based on the nature of invention, professional help required, and other factors.

Important Next Steps After Filing Your Provisional Patent

Once your provisional patent application is filed with the Indian Patent Office, be sure to:

  • Submit signed copies of Form 1 within 6 months
  • Provide proof of inventorship if applicant differs from inventor within 6 months
  • Submit Form 26 if a patent agent filed the application on your behalf within 6 months
  • File a complete patent application before your provisional patent expires at 12 months
  • Decide if you wish to file foreign patent applications and meet all requirements within 12 months

Failure to file a complete patent application within 12 months will result in your provisional application being considered abandoned. So be sure to calendar all important deadlines!

Should You Do a Patent Search Before Filing?

Conducting a patent search to uncover any prior art or existing patents covering similar ground as your invention is always advisable before filing any patent application.

A search will help determine if your invention is truly novel and patentable, or if there are existing patents that could prevent your application from being approved. This is useful insight before investing filing and pursuit costs.

While not mandatory, a preliminary patent search – either before or after filing your provisional patent – can inform your decision making and improve chances of getting a full patent granted eventually.

Provisional vs Complete Patent Application: Key Factors to Consider

Deciding between filing a provisional patent first or jumping directly to a complete application depends on several factors:

  • If your invention is still at an early stage, provisional makes sense to secure priority while you develop further.
  • If your invention is finalized, you may want to file a complete application upfront.
  • Provisional patents involve lower upfront costs, allowing you to defer expenses to later stages.
  • A complete application requires claims, abstract, formal drawings – not needed for a provisional.
  • Provisional patents only last 12 months and require a complete application to proceed. A complete application endures independently once filed.
  • Both provisional and complete applications establish your priority date. But foreign filings like a PCT application require a complete application.

Consult with a patent professional to determine the best filing strategy for your specific invention and situation. Here is a comparison summary:

FactorProvisional ApplicationComplete Application
Stage of InventionPreferred when still in developmentPreferred for finalized invention
Initial ExpenseLower upfront costsHigher initial costs
Claims, Abstract, DrawingsNot requiredRequired
Independent ExistenceAbandoned if complete application not filed within 12 monthsEndures independently once filed
Foreign FilingsPriority date established but complete application required for PCT or other national phase filingsPriority date established; can use for foreign filings

FAQs on Provisional Patents in India

How long does a provisional patent last in India?

A provisional patent application remains valid in India for 12 months from the filing date. This one-year pendency gives the applicant time to assess their invention’s viability and decide if they want to pursue a full patent.

Can I extend the term of a provisional patent application?

No, it is not possible to extend the 12-month lifetime of a provisional patent application in India. The applicant must file a complete patent application within this one-year window to continue the pursuit.

Does a provisional patent provide IP protection in India?

While filing a provisional patent establishes an early priority date, it does not provide enforceable IP rights on its own. You must file a complete patent application within 12 months for substantive protection.

Can I claim “patent pending” status after filing a provisional patent?

Yes, applicants can designate their invention as “patent pending” after filing a provisional patent application in India before it expires, or a full patent is granted.

Does a provisional patent application require claims?

No. One key difference between provisional and complete applications is that a provisional patent does not require any claims. This simplifies the filing process.

Can I add new matter later during the complete application?

No, new subject matter cannot be added to the complete application that was not disclosed in the provisional patent application. The complete application must be supported by the original disclosure.

Conclusion & Call to Action

We hope this comprehensive guide has helped demystify provisional patents in India! Here are some key takeaways:

  • Provisional patents allow fast, lower-cost entry to establish an early filing date and secure IP rights for your invention before committing fully.
  • The 12-month pendency provides you with time to evaluate commercial potential and refine the technology or product.
  • Be sure to calendar all post-filing requirements and deadlines to avoid losing rights.
  • Consult experts like those at to determine if starting with a provisional patent makes sense for your specific situation and goals.

Ready to secure intellectual property protection for your invention idea? The patent specialists at can provide guidance on whether provisional or complete application suits your needs. Contact them today to evaluate your invention and chart the best patent strategy. Act now to safeguard your innovations!

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