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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

Hi everyone, I’m J.D. Houvener, and welcome to the Bold Today Show where you, the inventor, entrepreneur, or business owner, get your daily dose of inspiration to make the world a better place. Thanks for joining today, and this is part two of our five-part series about discussing the services that we love and hold dear and are able to serve our clients with. Yesterday, we talked about the patentability search opinion and how it’s important in making that solid business decision about how to move forward. Right? Whether your invention is new in the whole world. Making sure you know what databases you can trust a professional like our team to take care of. Make sure you’re making a good decision when you decide to put that time and money into that patent application filing.

Today, we’re talking about that application and one particular type of application called the provisional patent application. You may have heard this term floated around in forms like even on a famous TV show, ABC’s Shark Tank. And people get confused about what the provisional patent application means. I hear the term, “Hey, I’ve got a provisional patent on that,” and that annoys me. It probably annoys every other patent attorney out there because there is no such thing as a provisional patent. It is just an application for a patent. So there are no rights that get invested when you just simply file an application. Right? You’ve got to wait, of course, until you file the non-provisional patent application, send it to the examiner, then they approve it and get granted. That’s when rights actually get issued, and you’ve got some legal authority to prevent anyone else out there in the market from making, using, selling, or importing.

So, what we’re digging into today a little bit about what the provisional patent application is, some high-level discussion. If you want to look for more information, you’ve got to go online to There, you’re going to find a lot of information, of course, on the website. What you’ll see is a link to our book, “All Bold Ideas: An Inventor’s Guide to Patents.” And in there, I’m just gonna make a quick reference to Chapter 14, where a deep discussion is had about what the difference is between the provisional and a non-provisional patent application.

So tomorrow, we’re going to talk more about non-traditional applications, but today, we’ll spend a little bit more time on provisionals. All right, so at a high level, a provisional application is just that, it’s a placeholder. Its main objective is to help you with sending in a filing date because, based on the law as it is now, it is not first-to-invent. Right? There could be some ops out there in the world that have this same invention as you, and what matters is not who invented first but who files it first. So that’s what the provisional filing date is for, and in many cases, that’s why someone would submit a provisional because they’re not quite sure what the claims are. In a provisional, you need to submit a specification, which is, of course, the full written description of an invention, and that must be enabled per Section 112 of the law, and the written description must be in such a description that someone like you, an inventor in your field, needs to be able to pick up that written description along with the drawings and be able to make and use your invention.

Don’t take me lightly. The description needs to be in great detail, but the provisional is informal. The drawings can actually be hand-drawn, and it can be put together in a fairly streamlined fashion without too much rigor. As I said before, there are no claims in a provisional, and the drawings can also be informal. So it takes our team about half as much effort as it would to do a non-provisional patent application, which we’ll get to later.

The key to a provisional is that you have up to one year from filing in the provisional to follow it up with a non-provisional patent application. That one-year window is unextendable. You’ve got to make sure you file that within one year if it’s an application that you want to maintain. If after that one year goes by, your application gets abandoned, and if you’ve published it to the public, you now have no recourse to be able to claim that as your invention. It’s part of the public domain. Still, don’t let that happen to you. Please get with us if you have any questions and you’re ready to get going on your provisional application at There you’ll see a link to schedule your own 30-minute consultation with one of our patent attorneys. I’m J.D. Houvener, the host of the Bold Today Show. Have a wonderful day. Go big, go bold.

About the Author
J.D. Houvener is a Registered USPTO Patent Attorney who has a strong interest in helping entrepreneurs and businesses thrive. J.D. leverages his technical background in engineering and experience in the aerospace industry to provide businesses with a unique perspective on their patent needs. He works with clients who are serious about investing in their intellectual assets and provides counsel on how to capitalize their patents in the market. If you have any questions regarding this article or patents in general, consider contacting J.D. at