Nonprovisional Patent Application (NPA)

Nonprovisional Patent Application (NPA)

When can I file an NPA?

As with a PPA, an inventor can file an NPA as soon as the invention is capable of being described in a way that a person skilled in the field could make and use the invention.

What do I need to file an NPA?

As with a PPA, prototypes are best, but photos, drawings, and descriptions suffice.

What is the procedure for filing an NPA?

If a PPA has previously been filed on the invention, the NPA is an extension of that PPA. This requires adding formal drawings and claims to the PPA, as well as carefully scrutinizing the PPA for any errors. There may be additional communication with the inventor regarding the invention during this time, and the NPA will be filed after both the inventor and the patent attorney are satisfied. If a PPA has not previously been filed, the process for filing an NPA is very similar to filing a PPA. The patent attorneys meet with the inventor to understand how the invention works and the benefits it provides, which usually lasts between one and three hours. After this meeting, the patent attorneys begin drafting the NPA.

How long does it take to file an NPA?

If a PPA has been previously filed, an NPA may be filed within three to five weeks. If a PPA has not been previously filed, an NPA may be filed within six to eight weeks. If time is of the essence, either period may be shortened for an additional fee.

Why would I file a PPA instead of an NPA?

Most often, PPAs are used to stage the cost of obtaining a patent. Because less work is often required to draft a patent application, because formal drawings are not required, and because the filing fee payable to the Patent & Trademark Office is less, PPAs are less expensive than NPAs. However, filing a PPA still makes the invention patent pending, which allows the inventor to market the invention as such all the while preserving the inventor’s rights. During the term of the PPA, the inventor has a chance to raise capital and test the market without investing the amount of money required to file an NPA.