Disclaimer: The Lichtenberger Engineering Library is not a legal entity and no one on staff is a lawyer. This guide is purely for helping you learn about and search for patents. If you need legal assistance, please consult a licensed lawyer.
Have you ever taken a close look at an item and found “Patent Pending” on the bottom? You’ve just found an item with a provisional patent! When a provisional patent is filed it provides one year of protection for the inventor and their intellectual property.
In the United States rights are granted to the first to file, not the first to invent. A provisional patent establishes the filer’s intellectual property as their own and allows the inventor 12 months to refine their invention, work on their permanent patent, or meet with investors. When the 12 month period is over the filer must file a patent in order to continue to have protection of their intellectual property.
A provisional patent is not a patent and does not provide intellectual property protection but it can be helpful in communicating to competitors that you intend to patent your work and infringing may lead to a court case. Provisional patents are not examined like full patents are, so when a full patent is filed it may still be rejected for not being novel.
Are you interested in what a provisional patent could do for your and your ideas? Learn more at our upcoming workshop “Filing a Provisional Patent Application,” Thursday, September 14th, 2023 from 4:30-5:30 presented by LegalCORPS. Join us here in the Engineering Library Creative Space (2001C SC) or online. Register today at this link.