A provisional patent application is a legal document filed with IP Australia that provides inventors with a lower-cost and simpler alternative to a regular patent application. The main purpose of a provisional patent application is to secure an early filing date for the invention and to give the inventor one year to assess the commercial potential of the invention before deciding whether to pursue a “complete” patent. Provisional patent applications have become increasingly popular in recent years due to the rise of startups and new technologies, and they offer a number of advantages and disadvantages that inventors should consider when deciding whether to use this form of protection.
One of the main advantages of provisional patent applications is that they allow inventors to secure an early filing date for their invention, which can be important in situations where the invention is rapidly evolving or there is a risk of others filing similar applications. By filing a provisional patent application, the inventor can establish priority for the invention and can use the term "patent pending" to warn others that the invention is protected.
Provisional patent applications also offer inventors more flexibility in terms of timing, invention development and business strategies. For example, during the first 12 months, any developments or improvements to the invention that were not put into the provisional patent application can be covered by filing of supplementary provisional patent applications. The supplementary provisional patent applications provide a filing date for the improvements.
An inventor who has filed a provisional patent application can negotiate with potential investors or licensees, participate in trade shows and other events, or sell the invention without worrying about their disclosure invalidating their patent rights. Inventors can also negotiate with manufacturers, licensees, distributors or the like, using the priority rights that the provisional patent application gives them as leverage.
In addition, filing a provisional patent application allows for an extra year of delay before filing of complete patent applications that come together with their associated prosecution costs, renewal and maintenance costs.
Despite these advantages, there are also some disadvantages of provisional patent applications that inventors should be aware of. One of the main disadvantages is that a provisional patent application does not provide any legal protection or rights, and it does not guarantee that a regular patent will be granted. In order to receive a patent, the inventor must file a non-provisional patent application (also called a regular or complete patent application) within one year of the filing date of the provisional patent application. If the regular patent application is not filed within this time limit, the provisional patent application will be abandoned, and the inventor will lose the right to claim priority to the filing date(s) of the provisional patent application(s).
In conclusion, provisional patent applications are a valuable tool for inventors who are seeking to protect their innovations and to assess their commercial potential. They offer a flexible alternative to regular patent applications, and they provide inventors with more time to make informed decisions about the future of their invention. However, inventors should be aware of the limitations of provisional patent applications and the additional investment of time and effort required to convert them into regular patents. When deciding whether to file a provisional patent application, inventors should carefully consider their specific needs and goals and seek the advice of a patent attorney or agent if necessary.
Mike Biagio has had previous experience in research and development and project engineering before becoming a patent attorney. Mike has been involved in specialist intellectual property law since 2001 in a variety of countries including South Africa, New Zealand and Australia, and has more than 21 years of experience as a patent attorney in obtaining patents and designs around the world for his clients.
Mike has been a lecturer and regular mentor at UNSW, University of Wollongong, and University of Sydney for a number of years, and has advised start-ups at incubators/accelerators on intellectual property and ideation.
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Barry, last week, you and your professional team, made my year (or probably my next 21 years). So thank you so much for your executive, calm yet very effective actions under extream pressure. Elias Hajjar, Director, TROLLEYON PTY LTD
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I have dealt with Barry over the years, his advice and experience has helped me greatly. Looking for to working with him and his team again. Maher.
IP Guardian helps protect words, symbols, letters, numbers, names, signatures, phrases, sounds, shapes and smells. Yes, I said smells.
We've had the pleasure to work closely with Barry for many years. He has been exceptional to deal with and has a keen focus in providing a commercial led IP "go to market" strategy for start-ups and well known brands. Makes it easy and always advises on different ways to navigate through the IP process.
Barry Meskin @ IP Guardian is an experienced and extremely knowledgeable expert in the domain of intellectual property, patents and trademarks. In addition he has been extremely responsive and very professional in all our dealings. I wholeheartedly recommend Barry's services to any business or anyone seeking advice in this area - great quality and great value.