Less is Not More for Provisional Patent Applications

When starting the process in filing a provisional patent application for an invention, think twice about the structure of the application and where to derive application language from. Writing a patent application is not like trying to explain an invention to a potential client; it is more like explaining what a stapler is to a child who has never seen a stapler without actually showing a picture of a stapler. Of course, patents allow for pictures and figures; however, ultimately the protection of the invention is in the claim language and must be described in words. Thus, it is important to understand what is being described and why.

A good provisional patent application will look like an actual patent without the claims portion. After examining patents that are similar to your invention though easy-to-use online tools such as PatentFiler.com, take the time deconstruct what the patents include in their descriptions and drawings and construct your provisional accordingly. This is the best starting point for writing a provisional as an inventor. A good solid provisional application will later give a patent attorney the latitude to help give more patentable protection.


-Certain terms will be used often in various patent applications. Be sure to search online if those words have particular meanings as to not inadvertently limit what can be claimed later.

-Don’t limit the description of the invention to the actual invention you have. Try to think broadly and expand on what other possible configurations, constructions, or formations could also be considered to be the same invention and mention them as well.

-After finishing a solid draft of the provisional application, consult with a patent attorney to double check that it is written it in a manner that a patent attorney would later feel comfortable drafting claims from. It doesn’t have to be a long consultation, an hour or two is usually enough if the invention is not too complex.

-Although provisional applications do not require claims, it is a good idea to draft some to the best of your abilities to convey to an attorney what it is you want to protect.