File a Provisional Patent and get a Patent Pending Number

To file a provisional patent is easy and affordable – use our guide to write the patent document yourself and file the application online for only $199 through GlobalIPCo / $99 through Iptica. Within a day you’ll receive a Patent Pending Number, which means that you’ll be able to:

  • freely disclose and sell your new product worldwide without affecting your patent rights; and
  • mark your product “Patent Pending” worldwide.

In the meantime, should you need to disclose your invention to mould makers, engineers or CAD draftsmen, do so using the free NDA offered by Iptica’s SuperNDA.

How to write a provisional patent document

Describe your invention, focussing on its new “physical features”. Don’t focus on the “benefits”, but on the physical features you’ve added that yield those benefits. The aim is fully to describe the new physical features of your invention – try our Patent Template, which will guide you through the provisional patent drafting process.


How to file your provisional patent online

STEP 1: Register with GlobalIPCo or Iptica

Visit GlobalIPCo and register an account.

GobalIPCo is an online patent, trademark and design filing system. GlobalIPCo also develops intellectual property management systems used by law firms to file and prosecute their patent, trademark and design applications to grant.

Although GlobaliPCo is primarily a filer of National Phase Patents, it also files Provisional Patent applications for only $199.

STEP 2: Select “New Cases” – “Patents” – “Provisional”

Although, you may file either a Provisional Patent, a Complete Patent or a PCT Patent, the best option is to start the patent process by filing a provisional patent.

Provisional Patent Online

STEP 3: Choose a title for your patent

It does not really matter what you select as your patent title – the choice of title does not limit your patent rights. Decide whether you wish to:

  • keep people guessing what you patented, in which case, use a vague title (e.g. “Container”); or
  • use your Patent Pending Number for marketing, in which case, select a title that alludes to the benefits (e.g. safety gloves).

Provisional Patent title

STEP 4: Enter applicant and inventor details

The applicant is the owner of the provisional patent. the applicant may be a natural person, a company or a trust. Should you later wish to shift ownership, this is easily done by recording an assignment. We generally suggest making a natural person the applicant, as this may reduce downstream patent costs.

Generally, it does not matter where the applicant is resident. UK, Australian, New Zealand, Canadian, South African applicants may file provisional patent applications using GlobalIPCo.

All persons that contributed a new feature described in your provisional patent document should be cited as an inventor. Common law typically assigns ownership of inventions made by employees within the course and scope of their employment to the employer, but it is still best to require each inventor to sign a document confirming assignment of the invention to the applicant. The GlobalIPCo system will generate the relevant assignment document in Step 5.

Provisional Patent applicant
Provisional Patent inventor

STEP 5: Download forms for signature

Download completed forms for signature. Print and sign the downloaded forms, without changing anything in the printed forms.

The Power of Attorney authorises S&Z Patent Attorneys to file the provisional patent application on your behalf (in your name), and the Deed of Assignment ensures that inventors’ rights are transferred to the applicant. Only scanned copies of the signed forms are required to file the provisional patent application. There is no need to courier signed forms to GlobalIPCo.

Provisional Patent forms

STEP 6: Upload documents

Upload: scanned copies of the signed forms; a copy of the document describing your invention; and drawings (optional). The documents describing and illustrating your invention will be kept secret by GlobalIPCo, S&Z Patent Attorneys and the Patent Office. Unless you provide a copy of your provisional patent application to someone, no-one will have access to this document for at least the next 18 months. If you decide not to file a corresponding Complete Patent in 12 months’ time, this document will remain secret in perpetuity.

Provisional Patent forms upload

STEP 7: Upload documents

Pay the $199 online filing fee by credit card. The application will immediately be submitted to the Patent Office, and you’ll receive a filing receipt together with a Provisional Patent Number (i.e. Patent Pending Number) within 1 business day. The Patent Pending Number is effective throughout the world (in 177 countries).

Now, you’re free to add your new product to a website, upload a marketing video to Youtube, make sales and freely tell people about it.

Using Patent Pending Numbers, and what next?

Patent Pending Numbers are great for marketing and deterrence: Audi used Patent Pending Numbers to communicate a technological advantage; Uber used Patent Pending Numbers to deter competitors; and Pantene used Patent Pending Numbers to convince customers that its shampoo included a “new active” (Pro-V).

In 12 months, you’ll need to decide whether to:

  • let your Patent Pending Number lapse, in which case, you need do nothing further (and all you would have spent is $199);
  • secure rights in your home country only, in which case, you should engage a patent attorney to draft and file a corresponding Complete Patent in your country; or
  • secure rights in various countries, in which case, you should engage a patent attorney to draft and file a corresponding PCT Patent.

Below is a summary of the patent process, following the PCT Patent route:

See Pantene Pro-Vs incredible patent story:

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