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By J.D. Houvener
Patent Attorney and Founder

Hi everyone, I’m J.D. Houvener, your host of the Bold Today’s Show, where you, the entrepreneur or business owner, get your daily dose of inspiration to make the world a better place.

Alright, we’re on the tail end of our series on frequently asked questions. Thank you for everyone who supplied the great number of questions and comments on their posts so far in the series. We are answering the frequently asked questions from our inventor clients and those prospective clients that we got on the phone with in our free 30-minute consultation. We field questions from all around the country because of the nature of our law firm; we’re virtual, meaning we can handle representation in any part of the country. So, with patent law being federal, it’s a really big benefit to us to serve a nice big broad community of inventors, and it has served us really well to get that knowledge base up and running. So, thank you for being a part of this Bold Today’s Show, and if you know of anyone that might be able to benefit from this as well, just forward the email to them. Pause the video right now and just send the email so they’ve got the ability to gain that knowledge in this daily two or three-minute impactful message every day.

Today, I want to cover the most important subjects that I get asked about. What is the difference between a provisional and a non-provisional patent application? And while I could talk about this for an hour, I want to give you the really high-level bullet points on what the difference is. A provisional patent application is an informal application, one that purely locks in the priority date, and a priority date means the filing date. The effect that you, the inventor, say that this date is when I submitted my invention to the Patent Office. So, anyone else out there in the world that is conceiving the same invention, it’s the fact that you filed it first that gives you the rights. So, if they’re out there independently creating the same thing you are, it’s a race to the Patent Office, baby. That is the reason why you want to file it provisional. You work with a patent attorney to make sure that the specification, the written description, and the drawings about that provisional are articulated in a broad manner to cover as much as you can about what you’ve just created, what your invention is.

A non-provisional is really the opposite. It’s a much more formal application that has very specific sections and requires formal drawings to be created. And, of course, the most important part are the claims. The claims of the patent are what you articulate with your patent attorney in words, English words, about what it is that you own, what you’re staking a claim on, and you’re saying you’re the first ever to have done this and provided this novel functionality. So, one of the beauties of this is that the provisional and the non-provisional work very well in tandem. The provisional gets filed first, and you get an entire year, twelve months, to then file a non-provisional patent application. So, that gives you a lot of time to potentially test the market, build a prototype, talk with investors, and make sure that your product is something that you’re going to be able to benefit from in the market. So, that 12-month period is a wonderful grace period to allow you to then file that non-provisional and actually carve out those words and make reference back all the way to that provisional so you get that early filing date.

I know I talked about a lot. I tried to break it down as simply as I could, but I know there’s more people out there that may have additional questions. If you do, please go to our website at or give us a call to learn more about it at 800-849-1913. If you’re a researcher like me, you can always go to our website and download a copy of our free book, “Bold Ideas: Inventor’s Guide to Patent.” I authored that just a couple of years ago, and I’m excited that you’d be able to get that for a free PDF download on our website. I’m your host, J.D. Houvener. Thank you for being with me here today. Have a great day, everybody. 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