The Provisional Application
INVO may choose to file a provisional patent application for your invention with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). This is the first step toward a patent. Note that the application is not evaluated by the USPTO and does not result in an issued patent. It sets the critical priority date for your invention.
Understanding priority date
The priority date establishes your invention with the USPTO. It is used to determine which inventor should be issued a patent if an identical invention is submitted by another party.
The 2011 US patent law, the America Invents Act, created a race to file provisional applications with the USPTO. However, prematurely filing an application with insufficient data may cost you your provisional priority date. Consulting with your IM is recommended.
Converting provisional to a non-provisional application
After filing, inventors have one year from the priority date to produce more data for the strongest possible non-provisional patent application. During this time, INVO conducts a more thorough due diligence survey to assess the invention's patentability, marketability and commercialization potential.
INVO does not have the budget to convert all provisional to non-provisional applications. Northwestern is most likely to file non-provisional applications that meet the following criteria:
- Inventions with a high patent potential;
- Inventions with high commercialization potential;
- Inventions with identified potential licensees; and or
- Inventions with unconcerning prior art or freedom to operate issues.
Learn more about the non-provisional application, the formal filing of the invention with the USPTO.