Drawings are the foundation of any patent application, whether it is a provisional or non provisional application. Therefore, it is imperative to abide by the guidelines of the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to ensure that the drawings are clear and the patent passes examination.
To understanding the differences between the two drawing approaches, we first need to know what provisional and non-provisional patent applications are.
Provisional patent application basics:
- Provisional patent applications require a low USPTO filing fee and are less expensive than the regular non provisional patent applications.
- Provisional patent applications last only for 12 months. You still have to file a non provisional patent application within 12 months of your provisional application in order to retain the advantage of the provisional’s filing date. This is just like filing an extension on your tax return; you still need to pay the taxes and file real tax returns.
- Claims are not required for a provisional patent application.
- Provisional applications are not examined. A follow on non provisional goes to the back of the examination line. So if you are racing against time and want your patent issued quickly, a provisional application is not ideal.
To be successful, any provisional application must include thorough details of the invention, just as in a non provisional application.
Non provisional patent application basics:
- A non provisional application establishes the filing date of your patent application and begins the examination process by the USPTO.
- Non provisional applications are comprised of a specification (description and claims), an oath or declaration, a drawing (when necessary), and a fee.
Patent illustration drawings are critical and can determine the success of any patent application. Therefore, it is important that all drawings are in accordance with USPTO rules.
By law, all patent applicants are required to provide a drawing of the invention if it increases the understanding of the invention. Exceptions may include for matter compositions or processes where drawings are irrelevant for comprehension.