top of page
  • Staff Writer

Provisional Patent : Do It Yourself Instructions

Please note we are not attorneys and this is not legal advice. We wrote this based on personal experience. You can file your own provisional patent, but you may want to engage in the services of an attorney to make sure you're not violating someone else's patent first! In any case, filing a provisional patent does not require an attorney according to the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

We can help you with the paperwork if you need us to. Inquire at or by the provisional patent paperwork listing from the homepage of Form America. Law firms charge thousands for patent work. We are not a law firm. We can't do the knockout search for you (to make sure there are no patents you would be infringing on!) but if you're ready to put your provisional filing together, we can help you complete the paperwork for $199! We can get you everything filled out you need to put a stamp on the envelope and file your provisional patent for $199 plus your filing fees with the USPTO.

If you're an inventor or an entrepreneur, you may have an idea that you think is unique and valuable. Protecting your invention through a provisional patent can be a smart move to prevent others from copying it while you work on refining and developing it further. However, hiring a patent lawyer to file a provisional patent can be expensive, and may not be an option for everyone. In this article, we'll guide you through the steps to file a provisional patent on your own, saving you time and money.

What is a provisional patent?

A provisional patent is a temporary patent application that establishes a priority date for your invention. It gives you a one-year window to develop your invention and file a non-provisional patent, which is a full patent application. Filing a provisional patent allows you to establish priority and ownership of your invention before you start disclosing it to potential investors, licensees, or manufacturers. We recommend you file this at the last possible second just before there's a legitimate reason you need it protected because the one year clock starts ticking the date of your filing.

A provisional patent application does not need to have formal claims, drawings, or an abstract. We typically use hand drawn renderings. However, it must include a detailed description of the invention, including how it works and how it is different from existing inventions. The provisional patent application should also disclose any prototypes or test results that you have.

Steps to file a provisional patent application:

  1. Conduct a patent search

Before you file a provisional patent, it's essential to make sure that your invention is unique and not already patented by someone else. A patent search can help you identify prior art, which is any publicly available information that may invalidate your patent. You can conduct a patent search on the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) website or hire a patent attorney to do it for you. Form America doesn't do this part, we only complete the actual application paperwork once you know your patent is unique.

2. Prepare the provisional patent application

The provisional patent application must include a written description of your invention and any drawings or diagrams that help illustrate it. The written description should be clear and concise and should explain the invention's purpose, how it works, and how it is different from other inventions. Form America does this for you for a flat fee of $199 plus your USPTO filing fees.

3. Submit the provisional patent application

Once you've prepared the provisional patent application, you can file it with the USPTO. You can do this online through the USPTO website, by mail, or by fax. The filing fee for a provisional patent application varies depending on the entity size of the inventor(s) and the filing method. We recommend you do this at the last possible second, because the one year clock starts ticking the day you file it on line or stick it in the mail.

4. Wait for confirmation

After you submit your provisional patent application, the USPTO will send you a filing receipt that confirms that they have received it. This receipt will include a provisional application serial number, which you can use to track the status of your application. Keep in mind the USPTO doesn't confirm the validity of your invention or patent-ability. They don't even review your submission. They just keep a record that you filed it.

5. Develop your invention

With your provisional patent application filed, you can now focus on developing your invention. The one-year window that the provisional patent provides gives you time to refine your invention and work on a non-provisional patent application. During this time you can use "patent pending" to warn others of your provisional patent status.

You can use the term "patent pending" to inform others that you have filed a patent application with the relevant patent office and are waiting for it to be examined and granted. The term "patent pending" indicates that you have taken steps to protect your invention and that others cannot copy or use it without your permission.

You can use the term "patent pending" as soon as you have filed a provisional or non-provisional patent application with the relevant patent office. Once you file a patent application, you can use the term "patent pending" on your product, packaging, marketing materials, or anywhere else that you want to indicate that you have applied for a patent.

Using the term "patent pending" can help deter potential competitors from copying your invention and can also increase the perceived value of your invention to potential investors or licensees. However, it is essential to note that using the term "patent pending" does not provide any legal protection, and you must have a granted patent to enforce your patent rights.

If you decide at the end of your 365 days or sooner to convert your provisional patent to a full blown registered patent, at that point you probably want to enlist the help of a patent attorney who will then guide you through the formalization of applying for and receiving a registered Patent with the USPTO.

Once your patent application is granted, you can replace the term "patent pending" with the patent number on your product or marketing materials. However, if your patent application is rejected, abandoned, or withdrawn, you should stop using the term "patent pending" to avoid any false advertising claims.


Filing a provisional patent application can be a smart move for inventors and entrepreneurs who want to protect their ideas while they develop them further. With the steps outlined in this article, you can file a provisional patent application on your own, without the need for an expensive patent lawyer. Keep in mind that while filing a provisional patent application is a great first step, it is essential to work with a patent attorney when you file a non-provisional patent application to ensure that your invention is fully protected.

(c) Form America LLC 2023. All rights reserved.

0 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page