Everything about Provisional Patents

The patent application filed by the inventor with the patent office is an official request from the applicant or the inventor to exclusively use the invention. A patent application can be filed with the patent office with complete specification or with the provisional specification.

Section 9 of the Indian Patent Act, 1970 classifies two type of patent specifications:

  1. Complete Specification
  2. Provisional Specification

What is a Provisional Patent Specification?

Provisional patent specification or application is a prefatory step, which is done before filling of a regular patent application. The Provisional Patent Application (PPA) is filed for establishing filing date in the patent office.

The provisional patent specification is filed with the patent office without any formal patent claims.

Characteristics of Provisional Patent Applications

When an invention is not complete in every aspect, the inventor can file a provisional application with the patent office. There is a time limit prescribed for the provisional patent application, i.e. the provisional patent application needs to be preceded by complete specification within a period of 12 months.

If the time period prescribed is not observed by the inventor the patent application is considered to be abandoned.

A provisional application is observed to have the following characteristics:

  • The provisional patent application is never examined by a patent examiner.
  • The provisional patent application is abandoned automatically if period of 12 month period expires.
  • The term of the patent begins from the date provisional patent application was filed by the inventor.

The Benefits of Obtaining Provisional Patent Application

Low cost

The cost of a provisional patent application is much lower than the complete specification cost. The technical description to be mentioned in the specification is also less, and hence it takes less time and money to file a provisional patent application.

Establishes prior patent filing date

The provisional patent application provides the inventor a period of 12 months to file complete specification.

If there is an issue regarding the ownership of the invention, the inventor can use the support of the provisional patent application to show proof of date.

Provides inventor a buffer period before filing complete specification

It is difficult for the inventor to adjudge how broad the patent claim should be. The provisional application creates a base and helps the inventor to complete the invention and develop the claim in the period of 12 months.

Use of Patent pending notice

Once the provisional patent application (PPA) is filed the inventor can use patent-pending tag along with the invention. The patent-pending tag helps the inventor pitch to prospective investors. It increases the credibility of the patented invention.

The label is also helpful in decreasing the possibility of theft of the invention.


The provisional patent application (PPA) is filed just to secure the filing date the invention is not published in the patent journal.

Additionally, the PPA is not examined by the examiner.

When is it Best to File a Patent Application?

The invention which is initially conceived is not necessarily the invention that the inventor wanted to conceive and protect. The person filing the provisional patent application is recommended to file the application if the invention is still in the developmental stage.

This is why inventors are recommended to follow the 75-25 rule while filling provisional application.

Documents Required for Filing Patent Application

Following document are required before filing a Provisional patent application with the Indian patent office:

  1. Application for grant of a patent (Form-1)
  2. Provisional Specification to be filed as per The Patent Act,1970 (Form-2)
  3. Declaration by the inventor as prescribed in Form-5 of the Patent Act, 1970.
  4. Power of Attorney if the patent application is filed by a patent agent. (Form-26).
  5. Illustration to be included in the Invention.

Components of a Provisional Application Draft


The title of the invention broadly describes the invention. The inventor or the agent filing the invention is always recommended to consider the title of the invention fairly early.

However, the title of the invention is not generally examined. Despite this, the title should adequately point out the subject matter of the invention.


Description of the invention is also known as the "Disclosed embodiment of the invention" or "Preferred embodiment of the invention." The description is known to provide sufficient explanation to the person who is skilled in the art so that he is able to make and understand the invention.

The description must be closely related to the drawings and substantively related.

Field of Invention

The field of the invention describes the scope of the invention. This means that it should be clear enough that the examiner is easily able to understand the nature of the invention and the genre of classification.


the objective of the invention should include comparative analysis between the current invention and existing invention.

Drawings or illustration

The illustration in the invention being patented is important as it helps the invention to be readily appreciated and easily understood. An illustrative description is better understood.


The provisional patent application is not an alternative for filing complete specification with the Indian Patent Office. Consider provisional patent application as a stepping stone towards filing complete specification to attain patent protection.

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