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14th Annual Independent Inventors Conference being held at the USPTO Campus in Alexandria, VA on November 5 and 6, 2009

Upcoming Events –

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Inventors Assistance Program and the National Inventors Hall of Fame® Foundation are proud to announce the 14th Annual Independent Inventors Conference being held at the USPTO Campus in Alexandria, VA on November 5 and 6, 2009. The conference includes breakout sessions for novice and seasoned inventors along with practical advice from USPTO experts, successful inventors and patent practitioners. Future updates will be posted to the USPTO home page.


Is there a question about what the USPTO can or cannot do that you cannot find an answer for? Send questions about USPTO programs and services to the USPTO Contact Center (UCC). You can suggest USPTO webpages or material you would like featured on this section by  E-mail to the webmaster@uspto.gov. While we cannot promise to accommodate all requests, your suggestions will be considered and may lead to other improvements on the website.


Provisional Application for Patent

Since June 8, 1995, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has offered inventors the option of filing a provisional application for patent which was designed to provide a lower-cost first patent filing in the United States. Applicants are entitled to claim the benefit of a provisional application in a corresponding non-provisional application filed not later than 12 months after the provisional application filing date.

Under the provisions of 35 U.S.C. § 119(e), the corresponding non-provisional application would benefit in three ways: (1) patentability would be evaluated as though filed on the earlier provisional application filing date, (2) the resulting publication or patent would be treated as a reference under 35 U.S.C. § 102(e) as of the earlier provisional application filing date, and (3) the twenty-year patent term would be measured from the later non-provisional application filing date.

Thus, domestic applicants are placed on equal footing with foreign applicants with respect to the patent term. Inventors may file U.S. provisional applications regardless of citizenship. Note that provisional applications cannot claim the benefit of a previously filed application, either foreign or domestic. Note also that 35 U.S.C. § 112 must be complied with as discussed in the paragraph below in order to receive the benefit under 35 U.S.C. § 119(e).


Provisional Application for Patent Filing Date Requirements

The provisional application must be made in the name(s) of all of the inventor(s). It can be filed up to 12 months following the date of first sale, offer for sale, public use, or publication of the invention. (These pre-filing disclosures, although protected in the United States, may preclude patenting in foreign countries.)

A filing date will be accorded to a provisional application only when it contains:

* a written description of the invention, complying with all requirements of 35 U.S.C. §112 1st paragraph and
* any drawings necessary to understand the invention, complying with 35 U.S.C. §113.

If either of these items are missing or incomplete, no filing date will be accorded to the provisional application.

To be complete, a provisional application must also include the filing fee and a cover sheet identifying:

* the application as a provisional application for patent;
* the name(s) of all inventors;
* inventor residence(s);
* title of the invention;
* name and registration number of attorney or agent and docket number (if applicable);
* correspondence address; and
* any US Government agency that has a property interest in the application.

Form PTO/SB/16, available on the printable forms page of the USPTO website at http://www.uspto.gov/web/forms/index.html may be used as the cover sheet for a provisional application.

[go to this page listed here below in the link to read the entire passage]

Beware that an applicant whose invention is  in use  or  on sale  (see 35 U.S.C. §102(b)) in the United States during the 12 month provisional-application pendency period may lose more than the benefit of the provisional application filing date if the 12 month provisional-application pendency period expires before a corresponding non-provisional application is filed. Such an applicant may also lose the right to ever patent the invention (see 35 U.S.C. §102(b)).

Effective November 29, 2000, a claim under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) for the benefit of a prior provisional application must be filed during the pendency of the non-provisional application, and within four months of the non-provisional application filing date or within sixteen months of the provisional application filing date (whichever is later). See 37 CFR 1.78 as amended effective November 29, 2000.

Independent inventors should fully understand that a provisional application will not mature into a granted patent without further submissions by the inventor. Some invention promotion firms misuse the provisional application process leaving the inventor with no patent.

Direct questions regarding regulations or procedures to the Office of the Deputy Commissioner for Patent Examination Policy.

Telephone: 571-272-8800
Fax: 571-273-0125
Direct questions regarding legislative changes to the Office of Congressional Relations and the Office of International Relations.

Telephone: 571-272-9300
Fax: 571-273-0085

The Inventors Assistance Center (IAC) provides patent information and services to the public. The IAC is staffed by former Supervisory Patent Examiners and experienced Primary Examiners who answer general questions concerning patent examining policy and procedure. Send e-mail to: independentinventor@uspto.gov.

For additional copies of this brochure, or for further information, contact the USPTO Contact Center.

Telephone: 800-786-9199
E-mail: usptoinfo@uspto.gov
or access USPTO’s Internet site at www.uspto.gov


(About Provisional Patents)

Manual of Patent Examination Procedures (from USPTO website, resources / guides)

Manual of Patent Examining Procedure (MPEP)
Eighth Edition, August 2001
Latest Revision July 2008

[offers the entire manual online in pdf or html formats to download by individual chapters or by zipfile of entire contents in either format]

see above page (link)


My Note –

The site map of the USPTO site has the patent laws available online among the first “a” listings which can be downloaded or searched.

(Also, apparently August is National Inventors Month for the USA – it would be nice to be able to find out things like that without stumbling on it in some place covering news outside the US. But, thank goodness they were willing to publicize it . . . )

– cricketdiane


European Patent Office – (lots of great info also)

A fresh look at the patent system for those who want to find out more about the world of intellectual property (IP). A discussion of recent innovations and other technological developments in the context of the European patent system. Your source of patent system news and information on patent-related events.

European Inventor Award

The European Inventor Award is a tribute to those whose inventions have achieved an outstanding and enduring success in Europe. Find out how to enter yourself or propose someone else for the competition.