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Provisional Patent Application in India

Provisional Patent Application in India

Provisional Patent Application in India

A patent application filed with a provisional specification is called as provisional patent application. In India, it is one of the various types of patent applications, including convention applications and patents of addition. It can be applied if the invention is still in the experimentation stage. And it helps the inventors by establishing their priority date of the invention. It gives a 12-month period to develop the invention, carefully assess its market potential and file a complete patent application. This article enhances your understanding of provisional patent applications in India and how to file them properly. 

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What is a Provisional Patent Application in India?

A provisional patent application in India is a preliminary filing with the Indian Patent Office (IPO) to determine an early filing date for your invention. It provides a rights for 12 months, allowing you to develop your idea further while securing priority rights. Unlike a complete application, it requires a less detailed description, making it a cost-effective way to get time and assess the commercial potential of your invention before investing in full patent protection.

Benefits of Provisional Patent Application

The following benefits you can get as a result of obtaining a provisional patent for your invention,

  • Establish Priority Date: The most significant advantage of a provisional application is securing the priority date of your invention. This date becomes crucial if someone else files a patent application for a similar invention later. Priority rights are obtained based on the earliest filing date, ensuring your claim.
  • Having Time for Development: A provisional application provides a 12-month to develop, test, and refine your invention. This valuable time allows you to gather market research and assess commercial viability and strategies for a complete patent application with a more comprehensive description and claims.
  • Cost-Effective Option: Compared to a complete patent application, filing a provisional application is significantly cheaper. This cost-effectiveness is especially helpful for startups and individual inventors with limited resources.
  • Attract Investors and Collaborators: A provisional patent application demonstrates your commitment to protecting your invention and can be a valuable asset when seeking funding or attracting potential collaborators.

Difference between Provisional Patent and Complete Patent Application

Below, we have given the difference between the provisional patent and the complete patent application to clarify your understanding of patents in India.

Feature Provisional Patent Application Complete Patent Application
Purpose Establish priority date, secure temporary protection (12 months) Full patent grant, detailed description and claims for protection
Examination Not examined Examined by the Indian Patent Office (IPO)
Content Simpler descriptions, drawings and claims optional Comprehensive description, drawings, and well-defined claims are required
Cost Lower filing fees Higher filing fees due to complexity
Deadlines No deadline for filing a complete application on its own Must be filed within 12 months of the provisional application filing date
Duration of Protection It provides protection for 12 months Grants exclusive rights to the invention for 20 years from the date of filing the application
Confidentiality Not published, remains confidential Published by the IPO, invention details become public
Disclosure Level Less detailed, allows for further development Detailed disclosure required for patentability assessment
Market Research Useful for securing funding or conducting market research without full disclosure Limited use for market research due to public disclosure
Legal Support May not require legal assistance Often recommended to have legal support for a complete application due to the complexity.

Also read: Types of Patent Applications

Eligibility Requirements for Provisional Patent

Some eligibility is required to file a provisional patent application. This includes inventiveness, novelty, description, etc. Here are the key eligibility requirements to obtain a provisional patent.

  • Novelty: The invention must be entirely new and not publicly known before the filing date of the provisional application. This includes any disclosures through publications, presentations, sales, or public use.
  • Utility: The invention must possess a practical application and be useful. Abstract ideas or purely scientific principles generally do not qualify.
  • Description: The provisional application description should be sufficient for someone skilled in the relevant field to understand how to build and use the invention. This includes details on the invention’s components, functionality, and assembly.
  • Inventiveness: The invention cannot be an obvious advancement from existing knowledge within the same field. It should represent a significant inventive step beyond what would be expected by a skilled person.

What can be included in the Provisional Patent?

While a complete patent application requires a detailed description, claims, drawings, and other technical information, a provisional application allows for more flexibility. Here’s what you can typically include:

  • Title of the Invention: Clearly and concisely describe your invention.
  • Technical Field: Specify the technological domain to which your invention belongs.
  • Background: Briefly explain the existing problems or limitations addressed by your invention.
  • General Description: Provide a broad overview of your invention, including its purpose, functionality, and main components. Drawings or sketches can be helpful for visual representation (optional).

What cannot be included in the Provisional Patent?

  • Detailed Description: In contrast to a complete application, a provisional application does not require a highly detailed technical description. Focus on the core concept rather than intricate specifics.
  • Claims: Claims, which define the legal scope of your invention’s protection are not mandatory for a provisional application.
  • Formal Drawings: Detailed technical drawings are not required at this stage.

Documents Required to File a Provisional Patent

To file a provisional patent, you must submit several documents. These documents form the basis of the patent grant process and determine the invention’s scope and use. Here are the documents required to apply for a patent with provisional specification,

  • Form 1: Application for Grant of Patent
  • Form 2: Provisional Specification
  • Form 5: Declaration of Inventorship
  • Form 26: Power of Attorney for Patent Attorney/Agent (optional)

Also know about the documents required for patent registration

How to file a Provisional Patent Application in India?

Follow these steps to apply for a provisional patent and secure intellectual property rights,

Step 1 – Conducting Preliminary Research

Conduct thorough research to ensure your invention is novel and inventive before starting the application process. This involves reviewing registered and published patents, literature, and databases to assess novelty and patentability. This practice of research helps increase the chance of your application being approved. 

Step 2 – Drafting the Patent Description and Specification

Draft a detailed description of your invention with all its unique features, functionalities, and aspects. Include drawings and diagrams to illustrate the structure and operation of your invention. Outline the technical details of your invention in your provisional specification document. Provide a clear description of your invention’s novelty, inventiveness, and utility. 

Step 3 – Submission of Provisional Patent Forms

Complete the required application forms, Form 1 for patent application and Form 2 for provisional specification. Ensure that you provide accurate information and attach all the necessary documents. File the required provisional patent application forms with the appropriate patent office. Pay the filing fees and any associated fees to complete the application process. 

Note: As mentioned, it is only valid for 12 months, so file the application with complete specifications once the period ends. It involves building upon the provisional patent specification and providing more formal claims. It allows you to protect your invention for 20 years.

Learn how to file a patent in India

Cost for Provisional Patent Application

Provisional patent application filing fees vary depending on the applicant’s category and the complexity of the application. Government fees are typically lower for startups, natural persons, and small entities. Additional costs may arise if the application exceeds a standard length or if professional assistance from patent attorneys or agents is sought. These professionals’ fees depend on their experience and the specific services required. Finally, drafting the technical description, conducting prior art searches, and preparing visuals can incur further expenses.


In conclusion, a provisional patent application in India offers a cost-effective way to establish an early filing date for your invention. This 12-month period allows you to refine your idea, assess its market potential, and prepare a more detailed complete patent registration for full patent protection. While a provisional application doesn’t require extensive technical details, it should clearly describe the invention’s core concept and functionality. This initial filing helps secure your priority rights and aids in securing funding or attracting collaborators for further development.

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