If you’ve ever wondered how to write a provisional patent application, then you’re in luck. There are a few steps to follow to ensure your application is effective. To begin with, you should clearly describe your invention in your own words. You should avoid legal jargon and make your description as clear as possible. You should also include a visual of your invention, though this doesn’t have to meet the exact standards required for a full patent. Examples of visuals include hand drawings, computer illustrations, photographs, flow charts, and more.

Description of your invention

A detailed description of your invention is a required part of a provisional patent application. The description is not limited to legal terminology; it may include warnings, examples of alternative methods, and intended uses. Depending on the type of patent you apply for, you may also choose to submit an illustration to illustrate your invention. The description and patent drawings need not be perfect but should provide enough information to show the patent examiner that your invention meets the eligibility requirements.

A written description of your invention should be clear and concise, yet include enough details for ordinary people to recognize it later. Although drawings are not required for a provisional patent application, they are beneficial. For example, you may include some diagrams to help describe the different aspects of your invention. This step is essential to protect your invention from copycats. If you don’t include an illustration, your provisional patent application may not be granted.

If you’re unsure about how to write a description of your invention in a provisional patent, consult with a patent attorney or agent. They will be able to advise you on the details you should include. Typically, a provisional patent application is not examined on its merits, so make sure you give enough information to convince the patent examiner that your invention is unique and worthy of protection.


Claims are not required in a provisional application and you should focus your time on providing an in-depth detailed description of your invention.  However, having claim(s) in the application may be useful to show people that you have a clear idea of the novel aspects of your invention at the date of filing the provisional patent application.

if you are just beginning to learn how to write a provisional patent application, you may be wondering how to write claims. Patent claims describe the particular features of your invention that are novel from existing solutions. To write a good patent claim, you should begin with the major components of your invention, state the relationship of these components (how they are interconnected), and emphasize on the novel aspects of how these components work in tandem in a unique, non-obvious manner. You will then add more specificity in dependent claims.  What you write in the claims should be described in (supported by) the detailed description section of the patent application.  The inclusion of claims in provisional patent applications creates a clear record of your possession of the invention as of the provisional filing date.

In summary, make your provisional patent application as robust as possible by providing as much details as possible in the detailed description section. The claim should detail each significant feature, including its structure, and relationship with other components. 


Besides being essential for the preparation of a provisional patent application, the drawings should also be well-drawn. In order to be considered for the patent, they must illustrate an inventive idea. They can be hand sketched or computer-generated. In order to provide the best visual representation of the invention, the drawings should be clearly numbered and show each part. It is also essential to provide good descriptions of the invention.

Generally, drawings are required to be included in a provisional patent application if necessary for the examiner to fully understand the subject matter. However, if there are no drawings in an application, a supervisory patent examiner must review the application and determine what additional drawings are necessary to fully understand the invention. In such cases, the supervisory patent examiner must return the application to OPAP and include a typed, signed, and dated memorandum explaining why he or she believes the drawings are necessary.

Adding drawings to a provisional patent application is not difficult. Drawings in a provisional patent application must be detailed enough for ordinary people to understand the invention. Additionally, they must meet the requirements for the priority filing date. A Patent Attorney can help you obtain formalized drawings. Further, they should help you understand which drawings are the most important. So, what are the benefits of including drawings in a provisional patent application?

Example of a handbag design drawing

Product Description

A robust product description for a provisional patent application will provide a deep and thorough discussion of every significant feature. For example, if your invention is a screwdriver, you should describe each feature in detail, including its structure, dimensions, and relationship to other components. While it can be tempting to restrict yourself to a few sentences, the claims will determine how far you can go. If you’re not sure how to write a product description for a provisional patent application, here are some tips.

The description of your invention is the most important part of your application. Without a good product description, you can’t be granted a patent. A clear, detailed description of your invention ensures that your product will be protected from competitors. Besides describing your invention in words, you can also use pictures and charts to illustrate your point. Using a product description is one of the first steps to obtaining a patent.

Your product description should contain all the relevant information about your invention, including the dimensions, shop drawings, abstracts, schematics, and any other relevant details. Your product description should be as complete as possible, free of grammatical mistakes. Ensure you’ve incorporated all relevant information into your provisional patent application, and include all pertinent details about your product. Once you’ve completed this, you can submit your provisional patent application.

Cost of filing

A provisional application can be very inexpensive if you are willing to write your own text. In that case, the only cost is the filing fee with the patent office and even at the undiscounted level, the cost as of 2023 is $300.  You can get 50% off the undiscounted level if you are a small entity, and you can get another 50% off the small entity price if you meet the requirements of the micro entity discount, typically reserved for universities or individuals meeting a certain income threshold.

In case you are not familiar with the process of writing a provisional application, you can create an account at PowerPatent.com and for a small fee, use the tools there to guide you through the preparation of your provisional patent application.  

If you want to offload the entire process to a lawyer, we can do all the work for you as well.  Please contact us to set up a strategy session.

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Working with a patent attorney

There are several benefits of working with a patent attorney when writing a service or product provisional patent application. Not only will they know what to include and exclude in your patent, but they will also help you avoid common problems that can make your provisional patent application rejected. If you are unsure whether you need an attorney to prepare a provisional patent application, review this Priori worksheet to learn more.

If you do not have much time to devote to the patent application research, you may want to work with a patent attorney. Patent attorneys are generally the least busy. That may be a red flag if they answer the phone after you leave a message. In addition, you may be able to get a startup package from a patent attorney. While choosing a patent attorney, it’s important to consider your budget and whether or not you plan to work with that individual for a long time.

The cost of a provisional patent application is considerably lower than that of a non-provisional one. The cost of a provisional patent application is approximately $200, which is a bargain when compared to a non-provisional application. Consequently, you can spend the pendency year developing your invention or selling it and hiring a patent attorney if it turns out to be more valuable than you thought it would be.