5 ways a provisional patent can help your startup now
A provisional patent is a way to get your foot in the door.
In the US, a provisional patent application is the simplest way to start the process of applying for a patent. It has the fewest rules of any patent application, so it is quick and inexpensive to prepare. The provisional application lasts for 1 year, so that you can find out if your idea will be successful in the market- and of course so that you can raise money.
GREAT! SO HOW DO I FILE FOR A PROVISIONAL PATENT?
We are often asked how to file a provisional patent. Strictly speaking, you need to file a provisional application. The first part of the process is to prepare the provisional application, which includes drawings and text.
And the first part of that process is to get from your whiteboard drawings to your provisional patent drawings. Trust me- it’s pretty easy to migrate from the whiteboard to the patent application.
You need 2 types of drawings; system drawings, which show the components of your system (for example, a client and a server); and method drawings, which show the functions or “flow” of actions through your system. These drawings tell the story of your idea.
WHAT ELSE GOES INTO THE PROVISIONAL APPLICATION?
Next, once your drawings are ready, you need to write the text of your patent application. This text tells the story of your drawings. For a provisional application, you need to describe each feature of your idea in your text.
Protip: Use this as an opportunity to double-check that each feature of your idea is in your drawings also.
Your provisional application should also start with a title and some description of the background for your idea. You can also describe why you thought of the idea in the first place, what problem(s) its solves and why your idea is important.
After the initial description, insert the story of your drawings. After the story, you can add a few claims if you want, which are summaries of the main features of your idea.
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