Why Professional Patent Drawings are Crucial for Provisional Patent Applications

A provisional patent application (PPA) is used by an applicant to obtain an early filing date and dodge the costs associated with filing and prosecution of a non-provisional application, which needs to be filed within 365 days from the date of filing a PPA. Since a provisional application does not undergo examination, the applicant can save costs for one year while determining whether the invention is commercially viable. Furthermore, a PPA is not disclosed publicly till its application number is noted in an upcoming-published application or patent. The following article discusses provisional patent applications and the importance of professional patent drawings in provisional applications.

Provisional Patent Applications in the US

In the US, a provisional application is crucial as the US patent law awards a patent to the individual who first files an invention with the patent office. Notably, this application exists for a year and gives the inventor time to perform more experiments so as to finish the invention before the expiry of a PPA. For instance, you can draw a container, illustrate different types of containers that work for your invention and include as many variations as possible on holes, slits, or a combination of the two.

Points to Bear in Mind Regarding PPA

  1. Making Changes to a Provisional Patent – From the date of filing a PPA, you have one year to amend your provisional application. This essentially involves filing a non-provisional patent application that has some reference to your provisional patent application.
  2. Carefully Drafting a Provisional Patent – If you add patent drawings to your non-provisional application that was not included in your provisional application, then you stand to lose the advantage of a provisional application. Therefore, it is advisable to make drawings carefully.
Figure: Points to Bear in Mind Regarding PPA

Advantages of Filing a Provisional Application

As per the US patent law, applicants are allowed to file a US non-provisional application within one year from the date of filing a provisional application. This means a provisional application gives the applicant an additional year to perform research and experiments before filing a non-provisional application. 

Drawbacks of Filing a Provisional Application

By law, an applicant must file a non-provisional application within a year of filing a provisional application or else they lose the advantage of the filing date of a provisional patent application. Furthermore, if the PPA does not adequately describe all that is claimed in the later-filed non-provisional application, you lose the advantage of a PPA filing date. This could affect patentability if a reference disclosing the later-described invention is published after the filing date of a provisional application but before the filing date of a non-provisional application.

Importance of Professional Patent Drawings in Provisional Applications

An invention is always better explained when its description is supplemented with a detailed illustration. This is why professional patent drawings are crucial for a good patent application. It is important to note that if an applicant does not file drawings in a provisional application, they are often requested to submit at least one drawing to complete the filing. The challenge, however, is that there is a prohibition against adding new content to an application without obtaining a replacement filing date. Therefore, it is practically impossible to submit a drawing after the date of filing without violating the prohibition.

Ways to Make Professional Patent Drawings

An applicant can create rejection proof drawings using:

  1. Advanced Software

The quality of equipment which a skilled draftsperson uses to make patent drawings is crucial. Today, advanced software has reduced the time and effort required to make drawings. The most popular way is to make drawings from computer-aided design (CAD) files that enable a draftsperson to either recreate drawings or create drawings for manufactured items or existing prototypes.

2. Skilled Drawing Draftsmen 

Today, most patent illustrators are skilled in CAD and have gained experience under the supervision of seasoned professionals. Furthermore, companies generally employ draftsmen who possess broad skill sets and apply a variety of approaches.

Final Thoughts

Though there is no mandate from the patent offices to include drawings as part of your provisional patent application, it is always advisable to supplement your application with drawings. This is because drawings not only describe your invention accurately but also broaden the scope of your invention. Given the importance of drawings in provisional applications, Sagacious IP offers Patent Drawings/Illustrations Services to its clients. Our in-house experts deliver drawings that are produced bearing in mind the drawing rules of different patent offices. Click here to know more about the service or contact us for a custom project.

-Sarvil Vikram Singh and Abhiranjan Singh (Illustration) and Editorial Team

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