The provisional patent application cover sheet is a form that you file with the specification and drawings of your patent application. It’s a request (see snippet below) for filing your application as a provisional application. You can find the form here. Also, you can find all of the patent forms here.
The provisional patent application cover sheet is filed when filing a provisional application. This cover sheet is not filed when filing a nonprovisional application. You can fill out the provisional patent application cover sheet yourself but it is often helpful to hire a patent attorney to do it for you.
In this blog post, we’ll go over each section and explain the terminology used to help you fill out this form if you are prosecuting your application as a pro se applicant (pro se simply means that you are not represented by a patent attorney).
If you need help with the provisional patent application cover sheet form and with other steps in protecting your invention, you can hire me, Orange County patent attorney James Yang. I work with inventors and attorneys of counsel throughout California. You can schedule a consultation, or read on to find out more about filling out this form properly.
The first section of the cover sheet is the priority mail express label number.
The Patent Office has transitioned fully to the Internet and predominantly receives all applications through the Patent Center. Do not submit your patent application via U.S. Mail. Leave this field blank. You can submit the application by US mail but the filing date will be the date the Patent Office receives your patent application, not the mail date. As such, there is no benefit in filing the application by mail. The Patent Center can be reached at https://patentcenter.uspto.gov/.
The next section is the inventor section.
All of the inventors should be listed in this section. An inventor is anyone who has conceived or contributed to the conception of the invention. An inventor should be distinguished from a scribe who should not be listed. A scribe is anyone who merely implements the ideas of the inventor. For example, a draftsperson may be a mere scribe. A mechanic may be a mere scribe. However, even these individuals can turn into an inventor if they made any suggestions about improvements to your idea.
It’s sometimes to determine who’s an inventor or scribe. It’s sometimes advantageous to list all scribes on the inventor list especially if you have an invention assignment agreement with them. It will eliminate any disagreements with people that were involved with your idea.
If you do not have an agreement with independent contractors or employees or those that might be considered a scribe, you should consult with a patent attorney to determine the next steps. Otherwise, downstream problems may arise especially when you’re idea is very successful and you are in litigation.
Title of the Invention
The next section is the Title of the Invention.
As stated, do not use more than 500 characters.
Many inventors would want to insert a descriptive title about the invention. However, the title of the invention is not meant to point out the point of novelty of the invention. Rather, the Title is merely to identify the broad field related to your invention. For example, if your invention is related to a new way shelves in a bookshelf is adjusted up and down, there is no need to specify that in the title of the invention. You can simply Title it “BOOKSHELF”. The title of the invention should also match the title of the invention in your patent specification.
The correspondence address lists the contact information of the person that will communicate with the Patent Office. They will not talk to two entities. As such, you need to list your contact information if you are prosecuting your own patent application.
Be careful, this will be public information. As such, if you do not wish your personal information to be public, do not list your personal information here. You can list a P.O. Box or some other address which you don’t mind being put out into the public purview.
If you’re having an attorney represent you, they will insert their customer number.
Enclosed Application Parts
My practice is to submit an Application Data Sheet, Specification, and Drawing when filing a provisional patent application.
The application data sheet lists all of the crucial bibliographic data that the Patent Office needs for your patent application. Eventually, when you file the non provisional application you will have to file the application data sheet. As such, it’s just good practice to file the provisional application with an ADS so that the data at the Patent Office regarding you and your patent application is complete as possible.
Don’t worry about the CD or Other fields.
Next check the drawings and specification check boxes. Insert the number of pages you have for these documents.
For the Fees Due, you will most likely pay by credit card which is in the next section below. However, you must know the proper fee to pay. Otherwise, if you pay a reduced fee but should have paid more, any patent that matures from this patent application may be later invalidated. The infringer will allege that you committed inequitable conduct on the Patent Office for failure to pay the full fee.
A simple definition for whether you are a micro, small, or large entities provided in the following link:
Method of Payment of the Filing Fee and Application Size Fee
In this section, this is where the rubber meets the road – it’s all about payment. Check the small entity status if you are a small entity. If you are a micro entity, you must check both the small entity status and the micro entity status checkboxes. Also, you must submit the Certification of Micro Entity Status form.
Do not pay by using a check or money order when filling out this form. You can if you want but who does that nowadays? Rather, pay using a credit card by submitting form PTO-2038.
Also, enter the total fee amount. You can find the total fee amount in the fees due statement above. A snippet of that section is found below.
If the invention was sponsored by the government, please fill this section out. Most likely, your project isn’t sponsored by the U.S. gov’t. If you don’t know if your project was sponsored by the U.S. government, your idea probably was not sponsored by the U.S. government. You can leave this section blank.
Get help filling out the Provisional Patent Application Cover Sheet
We can help you protect your idea. We help you to cross all of your Ts and dot all of your Is to ensure you have the protection you need to launch your product. The first step is a consultation. During our consultation, we learn about your invention and find out if the provisional patent application cover sheet is the right form for you.