Types of Patents: Provisional v. Utility v. International

which type of patent is best for you?



If you searched on "ppa application", "conventional patent application", "utility patent", "provisional online application", "provisional patent application form", "apply for provisional", "provisional patent application", "how to file a provisional patent", "how to file a patent yourself", "how to apply for a provisional patent", "provisional patent", "how to get a provisional patent", "preliminary patent", you are in the right place.


The filing requirements for a Provisional patent application are much easier to satisfy than for Utility. Just one of millions of examples of the difference is shown above. On the left is an ordinary boring digital photograph, perfectly acceptable for a Provisional filing. On the right is that same image, but converted to properly statutory Formal Drawings. Either image could be submitted for a Provisional patent application, but only the image on the right could be submitted for a Utility patent application.

Next, this entire site is focused mostly at inventors with limited capital that are trying to make a decision about patent filings. Typically, filing a Provisional patent application is the best option for such an inventor. However, this also depends on some other factors, such as how many sales have occurred, and when the invention was first disclosed to the public and/or offered for sale. Anyone who wants to know more about this limitation should do a Google search on "35 USC 102" and "in-use or on-sale bar".

The problem for a typical inventor is that a Utility patent application has a lot of complex requirements that are very difficult to briefly explain. One example is "patent claims", which again are very difficult to briefly explain.

Accordingly, before consulting any counsel, please be aware that inventors are permitted by law to file their own patent applications! The information on this site is directed mostly at these types of inventors.  

If this is your choice, disclose as much as possible about your invention, be objective, and include lots and lots of drawings and sketches. In a Provisional, digital photographs are acceptable.


All Utility patent applications must have a specification, drawings, and claims, among other things. However, the requirements for Provisional patent applications are much more flexible. Still, a Provisional application should always contain a Specification and Drawings. Ideally, it is best to keep these separated. And include lots of both.

Discuss your invention objectively and dispassionately. Do not assume the person reading it is excited about your business prospects. Keep all your language objective.

To get an idea of the format and language required, read other Issued US patents. There are currently more than 10 million Issued U.S. patents to choose from. Find one in your field and grasp the language from that.

Believe it or not, but that is how most patent attorneys learned and grasped the patent-drafting process. They worked from examples that have worked for other inventors.


If you arrived at this site inquiring about "international patent protection", "how to patent product in india process", "pct patent", "pct patent application", "how to patent your idea in india", and/or something similar, then you are in the right place! 

Information about international patent applications, including but not limited to India, is difficult to briefly summarize. There is something known as an International application, which preserves one's rights until the inventor wants to designate a specific country.

At that time, a law firm in that particular country must be selected. The costs for hiring multiple law firms in multiple countries is usually beyond the scope of a typical inventor, so that International patent protection is very near to un-affordable.


Any estimates regarding specific costs require extensive inquiry that is very fact-dependent and situation-dependent.

Outstanding ~5 minute video for self-filing a patent app

Self-filing for patent is not easy, and its confusing. Fortunately, there are several excellent videos on YouTube that explain the filing process. However, remember, these videos do not explain the Drafting process, that is also difficult but in a different way.

Click Here for video on self-filing a patent app