What Are “Rolling Provisional Patent Applications”?
The usage of “rolling provisional patent applications” is commonly used in the pharmaceutical industry. Basically, rolling provisional patent applications are two or more provisional patent applications filed wherein the later provisional patent applications include additional subject matter not initially disclosed in the prior provisional patent applications. It is important to note that you still have to file the U.S. non-provisional patent application within one-year of the first provisional patent application to maintain the earlier priority date thereof. As always, it is recommended to file a professionally drafted U.S. non-provisional patent application as early as possible in view of the U.S. first to file patent system.
Example of Rolling Provisional Patent Applications
Below is an example showing the usage of rolling provisional patent applications. Each additional provisional patent application includes the same subject matter as the previous patent application plus the newly developed subject matter.
- On January 1, 2014, the inventor files a First Provisional
Application that discloses subject matter A.
- On January 15, 2014, the inventor develops an improvement to the
invention (subject matter B).
- On January 16, 2014, the inventor files a Second Provisional
Application that discloses subject matter A and B.
- On March 13, 2014, the inventor develops another improvement to the
invention (subject matter C).
- On March 15, 2014, the inventor files a Third Provisional
Application that discloses subject matter A, B and C.
- On May 1, 2014, the inventor files a U.S. non-provisional patent application that discloses subject matter A, B and C.
Since the U.S. non-provisional application in the example above is filed before the one-year expiration deadline for the First Provisional Application, the U.S. non-provisional patent application can claim priority to all three of the provisional patent applications. It should be noted that only subject matter A is entitled to the January 1, 2014 priority date since subject matter B is only entitled to the January 16, 2014 priority date and subject matter C is only entitled to the March 15, 2014 priority date.