How long is a provisional Patent Application Valid?
A provisional patent application has a duration of 1 year from the date of filing. This means you have a year to follow up and file a non-provisional patent application to maintain the protection of your invention. However, what happens if the expiration date of your provisional patent application falls on a weekend or holiday? And what if you missed the expiration date and didn’t file a full non-provisional patent application? Let’s explore these scenarios.
In the typical scenario, you file a provisional patent application and before it expires within 1 year, you file a non-provisional patent application to benefit from the earlier filing date of the provisional application. For example, if you filed a provisional patent application on September 4, 2018, you would need to file a non-provisional patent application before September 4, 2019. By doing so, the non-provisional patent application can claim the September 4, 2018 date established by the provisional application. It’s a straightforward process.
If the expiration date of the provisional patent application falls on a weekend or federal holiday, you can file the non-provisional patent application on the next business day and still retain the original date saved by the provisional patent application. This allows you to account for weekends and holidays without losing the benefit of the provisional application.
It’s important to note that you cannot renew a provisional patent application. If you need more time to file a non-provisional patent application, you have a couple of options. One option is to extend the provisional patent application by filing a PCT (Patent Cooperation Treaty) patent application, although this can be costly. Another option is to file a completely new provisional patent application, which would give you a new date but carries some risks. By filing a new provisional application, you forfeit the original date, and your place in line with the Patent Office gets pushed back. If you’re considering extending your provisional patent application or filing a new one while letting the old one expire, it’s advisable to consult with us for guidance.
But what if you missed the 1-year deadline for your provisional patent application and failed to file a non-provisional patent application? In certain cases, if you missed the deadline accidentally, it may still be possible to file a non-provisional patent application late, within 2 months of the expiration date of your provisional application. However, this would require us to request a late filing with the US Patent Office. If you find yourself in this situation, it’s crucial to have us review the specifics promptly.
For more information on the risks associated with filing a new provisional patent application and allowing the old one to expire, you can refer to our article “Can I Renew a Provisional Patent Application?” Similarly, if you’re interested in learning about extending the time of a provisional patent application using a PCT Patent Application, you can explore our article “What is a PCT Patent Application?”.
Feel free to reach out to us if you have any further questions or require assistance with your provisional or non-provisional patent applications.
A provisional patent application is a valuable tool that provides inventors with a one-year period of protection while they further develop their inventions. Understanding the duration and implications of a provisional patent application is essential for inventors looking to maximize their intellectual property rights. By utilizing the provisional period effectively, inventors can refine their inventions, conduct market research, seek licensing opportunities, and ensure a strong foundation for future patent protection. By following best practices and working closely with patent professionals, inventors can navigate the patent process successfully and safeguard their valuable intellectual property.