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A provisional patent application (PPA) is often the starting point along the path to obtaining full patent protection. After a PPA is filed, the invention is "patent pending" for one year, allowing public disclosure of the material included in the application, time to continue research and development, and time to evaluate commercial opportunities.

Application preparation

The PPA will take from two days to more than a month to prepare, depending on the data and information available and planned public disclosures.

After filing (the next 10 months)

After the application is filed, the office of Technology Advancement will prepare a marketing brief and pursue commercial opportunities.

The inventor’s role is to:

  • Continue doing research to generate more data on invention features and confirm additional uses.
  • Improve prototypes.
  • Provide detailed information on how the invention functions, etc. All supportive data must be available at the time of conversion to a full patent application.
  • Share industry contacts that may be interested in the technology.

Around month 10, Tech Advancement staff will decide whether to convert the PPA to a full application based on patentability, marketing feedback and technical progress.

If we do not file a full patent application, researchers are encouraged to disclose improvements, which may lead to a new patent or commercial opportunity.


Out-of-pocket costs related to provisional patent applications usually ranges from $1,000 to $14,000. Costs vary based on the complexity of the technology, the information available and time constraints.