When it comes to filing a patent application, there are two main types: provisional and non-provisional. A non-provisional patent application is the type of application that is submitted to the USPTO for review and, if approved, will grant the patent. This type of application must be filed in order to be placed on the waiting list for examination. On the other hand, a provisional patent application is not reviewed by the USPTO and is mainly used to delay excessive spending of money in the patenting process.
In order to preserve the priority date established by a provisional patent application (PPA), the corresponding non-provisional patent application must be submitted before the PPA is abandoned. The non-provisional patent application must include a full patent specification in which the applicant discloses all the details of the invention in a clear and comprehensive manner. It is recommended to pay the filing, search and examination fees online when filing the application through the Patent Center to avoid late fees. If you choose to pay later by check or money order, it must be in the name of the Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Under normal processing conditions, it takes approximately one and a half years for the Patent Office to thoroughly examine a patent application. If time is a factor, it may be best to skip the provisional patent application and move directly to the non-provisional patent application. A provisional patent application should anticipate as many different ways of practicing your invention as possible to give you the flexibility you need to draft a good non-provisional patent. One of these views should be suitable for inclusion on the cover of the publication of the patent application and the patent as an illustration of the invention.