Does a provisional patent application need to be filed?

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The Indian Patents Act, 1970 governs provisional patent applications in India. Inventions with industrial utility are granted patents to grant the owner exclusive rights to the invention.  Patents allow inventors to monetise their inventions for the first time. Many inventors and patent specialists are aware that the Patent Act of 1970 provides guidelines to assist them in obtaining a patent.

Make sure you are familiar with the patent specification documents before applying for a patent. A patent specification is a technical document. A patent specification serves two purposes. It is possible to develop and work on an invention after it has entered the public domain once it has expired from its patent. Once it becomes public domain, the invention can be reused. The second step is to identify which parts of the invention belong to the inventor exclusively.

An inventor or patent professional, such as a lawyer or agent, may conduct a comparison between their invention and existing technology as part of the patent drafting process. Patent applications require this step to ensure the invention is new and does not infringe on any existing patents. A specification is written once a draft is completed. Provisional specifications play a crucial role in determining a patent’s priority date. Provisional specifications do not describe the invention in detail, contrary to their name. Within one year of the filing of the provisional specification, the complete specification must be filed.

Patents guarantee the exclusive rights of the inventor over the invention. Exceptions to this rule can be met by filing the completed specification directly without filing a provisional specification first. In these cases, experts often recommend submitting the provisional specifications before the final specifications are ready. How can this be? To answer this question, it is necessary to consider the importance of a provisional patent application.

A provisional patent application is not required.

To protect their invention, inventors can file a provisional patent application before submitting a complete description. It is important to describe an invention in great detail in order to draft a complete specification of it.  In most cases, it takes several months for an invention to undergo research and development (R&D). In some cases, if you wait until you have completely figured out your invention before you submit a complete set of specifications, you may have difficulty receiving a priority date.

Filing a provisional specification with the preliminary details of one’s invention can give one a priority date. There are no claims or diagrams required for provisional patent applications, and they are also less expensive.  An inventor has 12 months to complete the specification, refine the invention, and determine the claims following the filing of a provisional patent application. Provisional specifications benefit inventors in this regard since they provide interim protection, giving them more time to perfect their inventions.

After a provisional patent application has been filed, an inventor can market his or her products with the label “Patent Pending.”. He then informs the public and potential competitors that he is still working on it to secure a patent.

A provisional patent has the following benefits:

i) Economy:

Patent agents can handle the specification for provisional patents, which allow inventors to work on inventions while seeking funding for marketing. Provisional patents are less expensive than conventional patents.

ii) Limited data provisional patent:

A provisional patent is granted for 12 months from the date that the provisional specification is filed, even before the complete specification discloses all of the invention.

An inventor is ineligible for interim protection without a provisional patent application.

iii) Number of Patents:

When applying for a patent, you’re racing against the clock. Patents are typically granted to the first application that was filed when two similar applications are filed. In order to ensure the priority date is placed as soon as possible, a provisional specification should be filed as soon as the inventor has a breakthrough idea. Also, the inventor can take several months to prepare a complete specification of the invention, and then submit it directly to the corresponding office, delaying the priority date considerably.

iv) Patents in Process:

If a provisional patent application is filed, inventors can market their products as “patent pending”. In essence, this is a statement stating that a certain product will very soon be patented and will not be copied by anyone else.

v) International Grants:

Provisional specifications may be filed simultaneously in other countries that are party to the Convention with the same priority date. Among parties to the Paris Convention, patents are given priority.

For inventions still in development, provisional patents can provide effective protection. A provisional specification is not required, however. An important part of the filing of a provisional specification is determining the business goals. A provisional patent application has nothing to lose, but a lot to gain.

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