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The Key Advantages of Filing a Provisional Patent Application in the United States

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When you want to break into the United States market, your best bet is to immediately protect your invention. International filing in the US is easy (whether you live there or not) thanks to the rise of the digital age. Anyone around the globe can—and should—apply if you’ve got a great idea!

Who’s Filing?

As long as you have proprietary value to protect, anyone can file a provisional patent. That includes business professionals, researchers, inventors, startups, even college students. Whether you are looking to relocate, enter the market, or simply explore your digital marketing opportunities, the idea is that you want to shield your concept from theft. ‘

The regular patent process can be lengthy, so provisional patent applications are a way to ensure your design is protected within an international space.

Getting Your Ideas Down

A provisional patent application (PPA) allows you to get your ideas down so that you can create a working prototype and perfect your concept. In 2013, the United States changed its laws to “first to file” (FTF) when it came to inventions. That means, even if you dreamed up the concept if someone else files the paperwork first, you’re out of luck.

A PPA satisfies the need to act quickly in the competitive American market and ensures no one will steal your idea. Unlike typical patents, provisional patents are kept confidential and never published, so it is always your decision when to go public with your ideas.

Building a Digital Footprint

Once you file a provisional patent application, you’re free to tell the world! As you are protected, you are now open to promote your product or invention without fear of theft. It allows an inventor to start creating a digital footprint and building a community around their brand. Inventors with a provisional patent can also claim “patent pending” on all their promotional materials, which generally perks the interest of consumers.

Filing a lower-cost provisional patent application also opens the floodgates for furthering vendor and manufacturer relations. Once you begin promoting the invention, you can start seeking licensees and partners, while also raising money for future development. From this standpoint alone, the value of a PPA in the United States can be immeasurable for the international inventor.

Updating Design

There’s no limit to the number of provisional patent applications you can file, and when applying for your actual patent, they can even be combined. Information on a PPA can also be changed at a later date, whereas a typical patent may be rejected for changes during the process.

Updating and developing your invention can be a continual effort. Your first provisional filing is a great way to get your thoughts on paper. The second is an opportunity to make it even better, and so on and so forth. It’s like editing a thesis. The more you put into it, the more improved of a concept it will be. Provisional patent applications allow you the time to collect the appropriate paperwork and catch anything you may have missed.


There is a big difference between the cost of a regular patent and that of a provisional patent application. Typical fees for filing with the United States Patent Office are only $140 for small entities (like universities, business professionals, and small companies with less than 500 employees). Regular patents can cost anywhere from $8,000-$15,000 and take quite a bit longer to file.

Secure an extra year of protection

One benefit often overlooked when filing a provisional patent application is that it secures you another year on your patent. A patent’s term is 20 years from the date the nonprovisional application is filed. If you start the process with a provisional patent application, it shifts the expiration of the patent out by one year to 21 years.

This may not seem like a big deal, but some markets hit their peak towards the end of the patent terms. This is particularly the case for certain inventions, like prescription drugs. Marketing and time works to increase product potential. So, buying that extra year with a PPA can be super lucrative.

Filing Provisional Patent Applications with Ease

One of the best things about filing a provisional patent application in the United States market is how easy it can be. The hardest part is ensuring you have the right paperwork. The filing itself can be super simple.

Seventh.ai is an incredible tool that can help you file a provisional patent application, from anywhere in the world. Their online application tool allows you to research the American market, build a profile, and get your product out there. Let’s get started!