Provisional patent applications in India are governed by the Indian Patents Act, 1970. Patents are a way to grant exclusive rights to an invention that has industrial utility to the owner. After obtaining a patent for an invention, the sole person who can monetise the invention is the inventor. It is a well-known fact that the Patent Act of 1970 provides several guidelines to assist inventors and patent specialists in obtaining a patent.
In order to obtain a patent, familiarize yourself with the patent specification documents. Patent specifications are technically complex documents. There are two purposes to a patent specification. Once an invention is in the public domain after a patent expires, it can be developed and worked on once it is in the public domain after it has been made public. The invention could then be reused once it is in the public domain. Secondly, you need to establish which parts of the invention belong exclusively to the inventor.
As part of the patent drafting process, an inventor or patent professional, such as an agent or lawyer, may compare their invention with existing technology. This step is required for patent applications to ensure that the invention is new and does not infringe on any existing patents. Once the specifications have been drafted, they will be written. In determining a patent’s priority date, provisional specifications are by far the most important. A patent specification, despite its name, does not describe the invention in detail. Upon filing the provisional specification, a complete specification must be filed within one year from the date of filing the provisional specification.
Patents disclose the invention and guarantee the inventor’s exclusive rights to it. The completed specification can be filed directly when an exception to this rule applies, without first filing a provisional specification. When this is the case, experts often suggest submitting the provisional specification before the final specification is ready. Why would this be the case? Defining this question requires an analysis of the significance of a provisional patent application.
It is not mandatory to file provisional patent applications.
Prior to submitting a complete description of their invention, inventors can file a provisional patent application to protect their invention. In order to draft a complete specification, an invention must be described in great detail. Research and Development (R&D) normally takes several months to complete for most inventions. Depending on when you file a complete set of specifications, you may have challenges obtaining a priority date if you wait until you have completely figured out your invention.
An inventor can gain a priority date by filing a provisional specification with the preliminary details of his/her invention. Provisional patent applications do not require claims or diagrams, and they are also cheaper. In the year following the filing of a provisional patent application, the inventor has 12 months to complete the specification, refine the invention, and determine the claims. In this regard, provisional specifications benefit inventors as they provide interim protection, allowing them more time to develop their inventions.
An inventor can market his or her products with the label “Patent Pending” after a provisional patent application has been filed. Afterwards, he will notify the public and potential competitors that he will continue to work on it for the sake of securing a patent.
Benefits of a Provisional Patent:
Inventions can be worked on with a provisional patent, and research funding for marketing can be conducted while a patent agent handles the specification. Provisional patent applications cost less than complete patent applications.
ii) Provisional Patent, with limited data:
Even before the complete specification discloses all of the invention, a provisional patent is granted for 12 months from the filing date of the provisional specification.
Without a provisional patent application, an inventor is ineligible for interim protection.
iii) Patent Priority:
It’s a race against the clock when applying for a patent. When two similar patent applications are filed, it is common for the patent to be granted to the application filed first. A provisional specification should be filed as soon as the inventor has a breakthrough idea to ensure the priority date is placed as soon as possible. The inventor also has the option of taking months to prepare a complete specification of the invention, and then submitting it directly to the corresponding office, thereby pushing the priority date much later.
iv) Pending Patent:
Inventors can market their products with the label “patent pending” if a provisional patent application is filed. Essentially, this is an assertion that a product will soon be patented and that it will not be copied by anyone else.
v) Foreign Grants:
With a similar priority date, provisional specifications may be filed simultaneously in other countries that are members of the Convention. The Paris Convention recognizes the priority of patents among the parties to the convention.
Provisional patents can provide effective protection for inventions that are still in development. However, it is not mandatory to file a provisional specification. A provisional specification is based on the business goals. You have nothing to lose by filing a provisional patent application, but a lot to gain.