How Long Does A Provisional Patent Application Remain Valid?
A provisional patent application is valid for one year following the filing date. Therefore, you have a year to continue and submit a non-provisional application. What happens if the provisional application expires on a weekend or a holiday? What would happen if you failed to submit a complete non-provisional patent application before expiration?
Let’s first discuss the common scenario. You submit a provisional application, and one year before it expires, you submit a non-provisional patent application using the date of the provisional application. For example, if your provisional application was submitted on October 4, 2018, you will have until October 4, 2019, to submit a non-provisional application. If you continue in this way, the non-provisional application will be able to receive the October 4, 2018, date that was saved by the provisional application. Probably easier.
The non-provisional application can be filed on the following business day. It will still receive the date saved by the provisional application if the provisional application’s 1-year expiration date falls during a weekend or a national holiday. It’s no issue.
A provisional application cannot be updated, so keep that in mind. You can extend the provisional application by submitting a PCT patent application, and it’s quite expensive if you need more time to submit a non-provisional application. You might also request a new date by submitting an application form for a provisional patent, although doing so bears some risk.
Your old date will still be lost if you submit a new provisional application. Now that you have a new date, you must wait in line at the Patent Office. If you’re thinking maybe filing a new provisional application and let your old one expire, or you want to extend your provisional application, contact us.
What about if you failed to submit a non-provisional application before the 1-year limit for your provisional application? If you unexpectedly missed the deadline, you might still be able to submit a non-provisional patent application after the expiration of your provisional application, but only within two months. We have to ask for a late submission with the US Patent Office. Have us quickly evaluate such a situation.