Online Provisional Patent Technical Support FAQ


My drawings are in Word. How do I upload them?

You can save your Word document as an html file, which will convert your Word document images to .gif files - an acceptable format for your Provisional Patent Application. Save each of the drawings separately and upload them into your Provisional Patent Application interview.

Can I use the Provisional Patent Application for business methods or design patents?

Business methods are acceptable subject matter for Nolo's Provisional Patent Application module, but design patents are not. For more information, see Nolo's article on the Types of Patents Available Under U.S. Law.

Can I make changes to my Provisional Patent Application, even though it's already filed?

The U.S. Patent & Trademark Office does not accept updates to a submission, so if you feel you want to update your filing, you would need to file a new provisional patent application.

You can also submit these updates in the actual patent filing itself, if you are planning to file a patent later. However, if you forgot to include a critical component of your invention, you’ll need a new provisional patent application to fully protect your invention.

By signing into your account and clicking on your provisional patent application, and choosing “Review Answers,” you will be able to see the answer to this and several other potential questions you may have after submitting your filing.

Is my invention protected if I have a "patent pending"?

As our Provisional Patent Online Guide states, “patent pending” doesn’t give your invention patent rights. You cannot stop anyone from copying, selling, or using your invention during this period. Patent rights do not kick in until after your regular patent application is approved. The label simply lets the world know that you have staked a patent claim and are waiting for the patent to issue.

Does Nolo have a Regular Patent Application package?

Although Nolo does not produce our own Regular Patent Application (RPA) package, we do carry a book called Patent It Yourself which can instruct you on how to file your own RPA with the US Patent & Trademark Office. There are also several pieces of software out in the market which can assist you in preparing an RPA. We cannot recommend any particular one.

To some extent you do convert the information in your PPA into an RPA but the paperwork is much different and requires a great deal of additional work. We therefore do not recommend converting a provisional patent application directly into a regular patent application. If you decide to file a new regular patent application, be sure to do so within 12 months and specifically claim the filing date of your provisional patent application.

In case you would like advice from an Intellectual Property attorney, our Lawyer Directory can help.

How do I upload images in the Provisional Patent Application module?

Here are a couple of things to try to resolve the problem. First, check that your images are within the following parameters:

  • Your drawings must be in one of these formats: .bmp, .gif, .jpg, or .png.
  • Each image cannot exceed 8 MB, and all of your images combined cannot exceed 15 MB.
  • You may not upload more than 25 drawings.
  • No color nor transparent images (note: if your drawing’s contrast or lines are not sharp or dark enough, our system may read the image as a transparent image, which will not be accepted)
  • Second, please use either Internet Explorer or Mozilla Firefox as your browser, as our Online Legal Form module works the best with these browsers.

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  3. Choose attorneys to contact you