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“The Essential Guide to Drafting a Provisional Patent Application”

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A Provisional Patent Application is a legal document filed in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) that establishes an early filing date for an invention. It allows inventors to mark their invention as “Patent Pending” and provides a 12-month period to file a full patent application. This application is key for inventors seeking to protect their ideas while still finalizing their invention.


The main requirement for a Provisional Patent Application is a thorough description of the invention. This includes how to make and use the invention. It does not require formal patent claims, an oath or declaration, or an information disclosure (prior art) statement. However, it should be as complete as possible to ensure it adequately supports a subsequent non-provisional application.

How to Draft

Drafting a Provisional Patent Application involves describing all aspects of your invention in detail. Include drawings, diagrams, and a detailed description of how the invention works. The focus should be on ensuring that someone skilled in the field can understand and replicate the invention. Although less formal than a full patent application, it requires careful documentation of every detail and aspect of the invention.


Filing a Provisional Patent Application is done through the USPTO. The application can be filed online, along with the applicable filing fees. It’s important to note the filing date, as it establishes the priority date for the invention. No patent examination occurs until a non-provisional application is filed, referencing the provisional application.


A Provisional Patent Application is a valuable tool for inventors, providing an opportunity to secure a filing date and protect their invention while continuing to develop and refine it. It is a cost-effective way to initiate the patent process and offers a strategic advantage in the competitive world of innovation. Proper drafting and filing of this application are crucial steps in the journey to securing a patent and protecting your intellectual property.