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i get a lot of questions from my clients and on this youtube channel about provisional patent applications so i'd like to spend some time today answering a few of those questions hi my name is john farrell i'm a silicon valley patent attorney welcome back to my channel so the first question how long does a provisional patent application last well provisional patent application is good for 12 months from the date of filing if you file the provisional patent application on february 1st 2022 for example you must convert that provisional patent application to a utility patent application by the following february that is february 1st 2023 so you have 12 months from the date of filing to convert the provisional patent application to a utility patent application but when can i say i'm patent pending well your patent pending from the time that you file the provisional patent application or a regular utility application if you're filing online from the time that you get a receipt from the patent office that your application has been accepted or if you're filing by mail your patent pending the moment that you deposit the patent application with the u.s postal service with a return receipt request and by the way when you do file your patent application and you are patent pending then you can say that your patent pending on your literature on your products on your advertisements and there's some good reasons that you may want to say that you're patent pending for example when you put patent pending on your product it indicates to the world that this is something special it's new it's useful it's not obvious it very likely will meet the requirements of patentability and it chills the marketplace because nobody's going to want to copy your product and potentially be shut down should a patent eventually issue so for these reasons and others i just think it's a really good idea to include the words patent pending with your product and your product literature so how much are the filing fees associated with filing a provisional patent application well the fees change from time to time but at least the time of this video the the cost of filing a provisional patent application with the u.s patent office the fees are 300 for a large entity 150 for a small entity and 75 dollars for a micro entity and a micro entity is defined as anyone who's a small entity as well as not having been named on more than four other patents and has a gross income of less than three times the u.s median household income which at the time of this video is around sixty thousand dollars so you know in order to qualify as a micro entity at least with respect to gross income the maximum income that you can have for the prior year is around 180 000 do i need to hire a patent attorney in order to file a provisional application and the answer to that is no you can file your own provisional patent application by going to the website uspto.gov and following their their instructions they provide a form for filing your application writing up your application is fairly straightforward it does require some work and you'll want to make sure that you have sufficient detail in your application to fully describe your invention i've written a book on provisional patent applications called provisional patents the 90-minute guide to filing your own application you can get a free copy electronic copy of this book by going to the discussion section below i'll post a link to where you can go and download a copy of this but bottom line is provisional patent applications are relatively straightforward filing them is relatively easy however it's often useful especially if it's an important invention to have an attorney review your application for you now as i said filing the application is relatively straightforward you may want to have a patent attorney actually review your application before you file it that is hire a patent attorney for a couple of hours to go through review your application for you mark it up and then give it back to you so you can file it this can often be a very economical way to save some money by doing your own filing yet have a professional review your application for you just to make sure you've met all the requirements for disclosing your invention and that you haven't left something important out now can i convert my provisional patent application into a foreign patent application and the answer to this is yes for most countries you can convert the priority date of a provisional patent application into a foreign patent application if you do so within 12 months of the filing of your provisional patent application now this isn't true with all countries but it's true with many countries of the world so if you have a specific country in mind you want to be sure and check with your patent attorney just to make sure that the country that you're interested in qualifies for that 12-month priority okay those are my frequently asked questions for today if you have some other questions put them in the comments section below i'll try to answer them below or if there's enough people that have the same question maybe i can add them to a future video thank you so much for joining me on this video see you next time
Thanks for your comment Wonda Eichenberger, have a nice day.
- Mitsue Bovee, Staff Member
how do you protect your invention idea this video is going to give you everything you need to know about protecting ideas and inventions and the first thing you're probably going to think about is well i want to be protective of things because i don't want to lose patent rights or i don't want somebody to steal my idea but almost as importantly as being overprotective which can cause you to cause your business to fail just as much as losing your rights does so stick around we are starting right now so for those of you who are new here my name is dylan adams i am a patent attorney and author of the best-selling book patent's demystified which is an insider's guide to protecting ideas and inventions used by inventors entrepreneurs and startups worldwide including at top universities like harvard stanford and mit you might also recognize me from my appearance on cnbc's hit show the prophet with marcus lemonis this channel is all about giving you insider tips and tricks on protecting ideas and inventions so be sure to subscribe and click the little bell icon so you don't miss any important videos on patents and startups all right let's go ahead and get right into it so when it comes to protecting an invention idea the first thing you may think about is preventing others from stealing your idea and that is certainly a consideration in early stages but i also want you to consider protecting yourself from inadvertently losing your patent rights which can totally torpedo a business before you even get off the ground that's another sort of protection additionally down the road when you bring a product to market how are you going to prevent other people from knocking that off and and actually doing that idea when it's actually a product how are you going to prevent people from doing that additionally how are you going to prevent other people from patenting your idea whether or not you have it patented yourself so this video is going to explain all those things okay so let's start with preventing your idea from being stolen by others in early stages now this can be relatively easy so all you need to do is not disclose the idea to anybody right so if nobody else knows about the idea there's nobody there to to steal it okay that sounds great in theory but at the same time businesses don't do really well if you don't start talking to people about it you're gonna have to work with other people in terms of designing products doing market testing and then you're eventually going to have to get the product out there so how do you go from keeping something secret how long do you want to keep something secret to then telling people and who can you trust telling about your idea okay so when it comes to keeping an invention secret that is important for a couple reasons one is obviously because you know somebody could theoretically take your idea and they could do it themselves although i would say that that's very unlikely typically but what's very important though is that patent rights actually start to be lost upon a first public disclosure public use or offer for sale and so if you start doing those things you may actually inadvertently forfeit really important pat rights that may be important to protecting your idea or invention or attracting investors or you know selling the company down the road so that's probably the more important reason why you don't want to make public disclosures public uses or offer for sale of a product because that can forfeit patent rights unknowingly and then you can totally torpedo a business before you even get started you've already forfeited your patent rights there's no way to get those things back so when it comes to keeping things secret i usually suggest that people have an initial period where they keep things as secretive as possible and that doesn't mean not to tell anybody in terms of patent rights as long as there is at least implied confidentiality you're going to be protected and you're not going to be losing patent rights from a public disclosure or or public use you know for instance like telling your spouse about your idea that's going to be fine as long as you trust that person the issue is if you tell other people and they disclose it that could potentially forfeit patent rights which is not good and it allows other people to know about the idea so you know make sure that people understand this is something that's important to you they should keep it confidential and potentially have them sign a non-disclosure agreement a lot of times people are really put off by non-disclosure agreements so i would say only use that if it's absolutely necessary um you know it's something that should be used selectively and not necessarily as as a default again you know when it comes to potentially forfeiting patent rights you know you don't need to actually have a non-disclosure agreement as long as there's implied confidentiality but at the same time you know i think people should try not to keep something secret all that long they should try to get it public and start talking to people about it as soon as possible but do it safely but before we get there let's kind of talk about that initial period and what you should be doing while you're keeping things secretive so the first thing is you want to determine whether your idea is actually going to make a good business and and i'll tell you you know i see a lot of ideas with my clients coming in you know they have interesting and clever ideas but they do the analysis they do a market analysis and kind of look at hey who are the people who are going to be buying this what is the market like how much can i produce this for how am i going to actually turn this into a product and they realize that well hey it's a really cool and clever idea but it's not going to make a good business or product and you need to figure that out before you start going on to earlier steps a lot of times you can do this fairly easily inexpensively if not free and using resources just like doing google searches or maybe doing confidential uh discussions with people so my suggestion here is you know do some search of the market determine who the customers are figure out if your idea really is going to be a good business that's the first thing that you should be doing and determine hey is this something that people really need are they really going to buy and can i produce it at a price point that people are actually going to want to buy it at those are all the things you should be doing during this initial confidential period okay but when you're ready to start looking looking for investors actually start talking to customers doing public disclosures public user office for sale you first need to file a patent application and again the most important thing is because you don't want to lose your patent rights again patent rights start to be lost upon a first public disclosure public use or offer for sale so that's why you need to file a patent application i usually recommend a provisional patent application because that can be done a lot more cost effectively it gives you a lot more flexibility than
Thanks ewindwenie your participation is very much appreciated
- Mitsue Bovee
About the author
I've studied science studies/science and technology studies at George Washington University in Washington and I am an expert in business administration. I usually feel relaxed. My previous job was technical & scientific publications editor I held this position for 27 years, I love talking about composting and baseball. Huge fan of Alfred A Montapert I practice ice skating and collect artist trading cards.
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