Provisional Patent Application

  1. Write a U.S. provisional patent application, including drawings.
  2. In a separate document, write 2-4 (no more) draft claims, under the assumption that your provisional application will be converted to a full application sometime in the next 12 months.

For understanding provisional patents, see Pressman, "Patent It Yourself," or even better, Pressman, "Patent Pending in 24 Hours."

Here is a suggested process to create your provisional application so that it is basically in the same format as a regular patent:

  1. Describe what the invention is and one paragraph.
  2. List prior art patents and products. See example patents for typical number of references to include. Note that the application must include *all* prior art references known to the team.
  3. List what is new about your invention.
  4. Determine who are the named inventors for the patent. See Pressman book for how to determine who is and is not a named inventor.
  5. Create one or more drawings of the invention, using the patent drawing style.
  6. Write one paragraph that describes the field of the invention. See example patents for style.
  7. Write the background of the invention. This section describes the need, describes the prior art and explains how the prior art does not fill the need. See example patents for style.
  8. Write the summary of the invention. See example patents for style.
  9. Write a detailed description of the preferred embodiment of the invention, referring to the drawings. All features in the drawings should be numbered and the detailed description should refer to the numbered features in the drawings. See Pressman book and other patents for language and style. Generally, the detailed description is the longest part of an application.
  10. Write the abstract. See example patents for style.
  11. Create the references cited list, essentially the list of step 2. See example patents for style.
  12. Write a brief description of the drawings. See example patents for style.
  13. Go back and write the final version of the claims, using exact claim language.
  14. Place the output of steps 1-3 in a supplemental document.
  15. Revise steps 5-13, consulting the Pressman book and example patents for style.
  16. Use the content from the revised 5-13 to create the application. Use plain formatting for the application. Do not format as an issued patent or as a published patent application.

Suggested order of the application (use these headings):




Assignee (if any)




Field of the Invention

Background of the Invention

Summary of the Invention

Brief Description of the Drawings

Detailed Description of the Invention

For the second document containing 2-4 draft claims, consult the Pressman book for language and style. Circulate draft claims among team and client to get agreement on what is the essence of the invention.

Submitting the Assignment

Email (PDF format) to your company contact and to your faculty mentor. Upload (PDF) to the course Canvas site. Only one member of the team has to upload to Canvas.