With inventing, it’s all about who invented it first. The United States works on a system called first to file, which means it matters not who invented it first but who filed the patent application first. Filing a provisional patent application will get you a filing date, so you can hopefully be first to file before someone else.
A provisional patent application “saves the date” for 12 months. That date is saved for 12 months only. Before the provisional patent app expires, you need to file a non-provisional patent application to claim the date saved by the provisional patent application. If you do this, it’s like if you had filed your non-provisional patent app at the time of when you filed your provisional patent app. The non-provisional patent app will get the filing date of the provisional patent application. However, if you don’t file a non-provisional app before the provisional app expires, the date saved by the provisional patent app disappears.
A provisional patent application is less expensive to file because it has fewer requirements for filing than the non-provisional patent app. Many inventors file a provisional patent app first at a lower cost, then raise funds to file the full non-provisional patent app.
A provisional patent application can usually be filed faster than a non-provisional patent application because it has fewer requirements for filing than the non-provisional patent app. Many inventors file a provisional patent app first quickly, before showing their invention to the public on a website or trade show. Then, take the time to request a non-provisional patent application to be filed before the provisional patent application expires in 12 months after its filing.
A provisional patent application allows the
inventor legal use of the term “patent pending”, letting others know that you have already filed for a patent application.
Keep in mind, however, that a provisional patent application is not a patent yet and you don’t have the legal right to sue anyone for patent infringement yet. It’s a “save the date”. Only after you file a non-provisional patent application and it is approved by the US Patent Office, will you have actual patent rights.
Your invention is protected in the sense that it is filed with the US Patent Office for 12 months. Anyone applying for a patent application of the same invention will be behind you in line and you will be first eligible to get a patent. However, you get this protection only if you file a non-provisional patent application before your provisional patent application expires 12 months after its filing. If you don’t file a non-provisional patent app before the provisional patent app expires, the filing date of the provisional patent app disappears and your protection is lost.
Not only does a provisional patent application save a filing date which can be used by a United States non-provisional patent application filed within 12 months, the filing date can also be used by most countries in the world. For example, you could file a patent application in Canada before your provisional patent app expires and that Canadian app would be able to claim the filing date which was saved by the US provisional patent application.
The provisional patent application is not examined which means the US patent office will not tell you whether your invention is unique enough to get a patent. Instead, the provisional patent app is a “save the date”, saving a filing date which can be used by a non-provisional patent application you file later, within 12 months of when you filed the provisional patent app.
Amazon recently launched what they call the Amazon Brand Registry which allows sellers selling products under their own unique brand to register that brand and claim ownership of it. There are several advantages to registering which isn’t the focus of this article, but basically if someone sells product under your brand, you can tell Amazon to remove it since you own that brand. The key though, is in order to register your brand in the Amazon Brand Registry, you must have a trademark registered with the US Patent & Trademark Office and more importantly, the trademark must be a standard character mark. Many sellers trying to register their mark have been rejected by Amazon because their trademark is not a standard character mark. Continue Reading
When you apply for a patent application, your invention is compared to prior art. If the patent office examiner assigned to your patent application considers your invention too similar to prior art, the patent examiner may decide to reject your patent application. So what is prior art? Prior art is anything in the public that is already known. This could be existing patents that were filed before you, but it does not have to be. Prior art could be patent applications that were rejected or pending, or it could even be a publication, journal, or website.
A patent search should be performed prior to filing a patent application. First, it tells you how likely a patent application will be approved for your invention. You don’t want to spend time and money on a patent application if the chances of approval are low. Second, it gives you an opportunity to work around existing inventions and increase your patentability. By seeing inventions that are similar to yours, you have the opportunity to improve upon those other inventions and increase your invention uniqueness. You are then able to file a patent application for the most unique and improved version of your invention, increasing your chances of patent approval.
A trademark class is a category in which a trademark is put into. Each class covers certain similar goods or services which the trademark covers. For example, class 25 covers clothing. If you apply for a trademark and tell the trademark office that your trademark will be used to represent shirts, for example, your trademark will be put into class 25. You can potentially get a trademark for a name that someone already has a trademark for, if you apply for a different class.
There are 45 trademark classes which help the US Trademark Office group trademarks into what goods or services they cover. Here we list them all.
A patent filing date is the date the Patent Office acknowledges as the date you applied for a patent on your invention. It is important because it establishes who should get the patent first, or what we call priority. Who has the first priority to get a patent for an invention if two people apply for a patent application on the same or similar invention? That is determined by who has the earlier filing date. However, the patent filing date of your patent application could be different from the date you actually filed your patent application, resulting in the difference between the actual filing date versus the effective filing date.
A trademark is a word, phrase, slogan, logo, or symbol that represents your product or company. It is an identifier of source, where if someone sees your trademark they will know that the product or service labeled with your trademark is coming from your company and not from somebody else. Let’s study Coca-Cola’s trademarked logo to learn more about what is a trademark.
It is a fact that there is no such thing as an “international patent” where one patent gives patent rights for all countries. This is because each country has their own patent office, laws, and jurisdiction. As such, to get patent rights in each country, you need apply for a patent in each country. An exception to this is that some countries have a consolidated application such as the European Union, for example. The main point is you still need to apply for a patent in each country you want patent rights is, there is no one patent that covers all countries. The closest thing, however, is the PCT Patent Application, properly termed the PCT Application. Importantly, the PCT Application is not a patent yet. It is better understood as a place holder, or time extender, to hold your place in line with international patent offices. Before the PCT application expires, you convert it into a full non-provisional patent application in each country you want to apply for patent rights in. So how does it work?
After filing a full non-provisional patent application to request 20 years of patent rights, it must be examined by the US Patent Office (USPTO) who will determine whether you are eligible for a patent. It is very possible to receive a preliminary rejection, what we call an office action. So what are the reasons why patents get rejected? Continue Reading