There are several different types of patents that can be obtained in the United States, each with their own specific requirements and protection scope. The most common types of patents are:
- Utility patents: These patents are granted to inventors who have developed a new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or any new and useful improvement thereof. They also cover any new, useful, and non-obvious method or process.
- Design patents: These patents are granted to inventors who have created a new, original, and ornamental design for an article of manufacture. The design must be non-functional and must not be obvious to someone familiar with the relevant field.
- Plant patents: These patents are granted to inventors who have asexually reproduced a new variety of plant. The plant must be new, distinct, and must not be obvious.
- Provisional patent application: This is a temporary patent application that establishes an early effective filing date for an invention. It allows inventors to test the market or to wait until they can afford to file a full non-provisional application.
- PCT International Application: This application allows you to simultaneously seek protection in multiple countries around the world, by filing a single application with the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) under Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT)
- It’s important to note that utility buy patents and design patents have different terms. Utility patents have a term of 20 years from the earliest effective filing date, while design patents have a term of 15 years from the grant date.
A provisional patent application is a type of patent application that can be filed with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). It is a preliminary version of a non-provisional patent application, and it can be used to establish an early effective filing date for an invention. It’s an affordable way to get an “early effective filing date” which gives you the right to label your invention as “patent pending”
A provisional patent application is less formal than a non-provisional patent application and generally requires less documentation, so it can be a good option if you are not yet ready to file a full patent application, or if you want to test the market for your invention before committing to the full patent process. The cost to file a provisional patent application is lower than non-provisional and you don’t need the final drawings.
A provisional patent application typically includes a written description of the invention, and may also include drawings or other supporting materials. Once a provisional patent application is filed, the inventor has up to 12 months to file a corresponding non-provisional patent application. The non-provisional application must include a claims section, which is an essential part of a patent application. The claims section defines the scope of protection that the inventor is seeking for the invention.
It’s important to note that a provisional patent application does not by itself result in the grant of a patent. The applicant will have to file a non-provisional application within 12 months of the provisional application filing date to have the patent examination process start and if the non-provisional application isn’t filed in time, the provisional application will be considered abandoned.