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Active and Passive Rights.
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“Provisional Patent”
Scams, Traps, And Mishaps
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So pervasive are the scams and traps using the “Provisional Patent” that the USPTO has stated.
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“Some [most] invention promotion firms misuse the provisional application process leaving the inventor with no patent.”
http://www.uspto.gov/patents-getting-started/patent-basics/types-patent-applications/provisional-application-patent
Fortress PATENTS / IP added the word “most” based on their observation.
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The USPTO has also included a section of CAUTIONS and WARNINGS about the use of the “Provisional Patent.”
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http://www.uspto.gov/patents-getting-started/patent-basics/types-patent-applications/provisional-application-patent
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So frequent are scams and traps played upon inventors that the Federal Trade Commission has published a WARNINGS statement.
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http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0184-invention-promotion-firms
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Fortress PATENTS / IP is the most active educator and advocate for inventors to avoid the frequent scams, traps, and mishaps that are so common with the “Provisional Patent.” Fortress PATENTS / IP can properly support invention ownership and maximum invention rights, protections, and market potential. 
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Scams
A scam occurs by the intentional misrepresentation or non-disclosure of information for the invention marketing firm or patent service firm to have an immediate advantage over the inventor to exploit their invention. In patenting, usually that vehicle is the “Provisional Patent,” and usually this occurs in for form of taking fees in exchange for only minimal and superficial service without concern for the inventor or the invention.
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Scammers want a quick buck for little effort by offering inventors a very low cost and very fast “Provisional Patent” filing. It is easy to image this results in questionable to little or no invention rights and protections, and even often results in full or partial loss of invention ownership, rights, and protections.
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Signs Of A Scam
The following are major indicators of a scam:
  • Too much or an only emphasis on the “Provisional Patent.”
  • Too much or an only emphasis on lower pricing.
  • Too much emphasis on fast patent filing.
  • Too much emphasis on a “Patent Pending” guarantee. Remember there is no unique “Patent Pending” guarantee they are offering, the “Patent Pending” notice can be used with any patent filing.
  • There may be some introduction of correct principle of “Provisional Patents” but it is of secondary importance.
  • Too much emphasis on being too quick to market before solid “Patent Pending” status and invention ownership rights can be filed.
  • Too much emphasis on the ease of patenting, without a sense of balance to the true patent prosecution process.

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Image - Scale, Too Much - Too Little

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Scammer Motivations
Major components and actions of the scam:
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Quick Buck Scam – Interested in a quick buck without much effort. They charge little and they do little, but they are paid.
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Alternative Agenda – They do not want you to spend your patent budget on protecting your invention first, but in immediately marketing your invention for a quick success. They pacify the inventor’s desire for patent protection with a low cost presumed “patent” filing, then ask for the rest of the budget to spend on marketing for a quick hit. Few business ideas are a quick hit, but they got all the budgeted money. They often lose interest as fast the money dries up leaving the inventor broke with a “fake” patent and having disclosed and given away the invention during the marketing process leaving the inventor with full or partial lost invention ownership and rights.
.Image - Scam Alert - Yellow
Trap For Bigger Billing – A “Provisional Patent” must be filed again in 12 months or the invention is abandoned and barred from further patenting and patent rights. The scammer hooks the inventor with a low cost and fast “Provisional Patent” filing, knowing in nine or ten months they will be forced back for a full fee (even bloated fee) “real” Non-Provisional Patent Application filing. The inventor feels trapped to pay the full (even bloated fees) as there is short timing, they feel the firm already know the invention, etc. The inventor ends up paying twice for the same invention.
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Think About It, See The Scam
The scammer’s sales pitch does not hold up.
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Too Fast – Think about it! Can a patent preparer first see, then understand all the complexity of the specific invention and the inventive concept, and then prepare a filing in 24 hours, 48 hours, etc. It is not likely to be a good filing.
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Too Simplified – Think about it! The only simplification of the “Provisional Patent” Application is the cover sheet instead of the standard full application. There is no simplification in the description, drawings, or claims. The faster the filing is prepared the shorter and less encompassing is the filing and that means fewer rights, weaker rights, and less protection to keep others from infringing.
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No Claims – Claims are optional with a “Provisional Patent” Application, but without them there is no legal definition of what is being claimed. The patent application is then just a teaching document disclosing the invention and claiming nothing. If poorly and improperly prepared (as most are), the “Provisional Patent” therefore just teaches others to use invention and does little to impart some, little, or any rights and protections.
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Too Cheap – Think about it! If a patent professional only charges $199, $299, …, $499, etc. that is only 1, 2, or 3 hours of work. Can the patent be fully understood, written, drawn, and filed by a competent patent professional in that short of time? A patent application is a legal instrument and not well suited by a fill-in-the-blank form. It takes a little time to capture the idea, position it properly, and to do it right.
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When an inventor steps back and assesses what is being promised and weighs it against a little reality, what is often being promised just does not add up. A scam becomes evident. The inventor needs more information and correct information.
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Scam Examples
See our full website for three examples of current scams.
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Traps
A trap is an intentional misrepresentation or non-disclosure of information to the inventor that eventually compels an even greater advantage by the patent marketing firm or patent service firm advantage over an inventor and their invention. This greater leverage occurs because inventors feels trapped by the scam setup. If the trap uses the “Provisional Patent” then the force of law also works to the advantage of the Trapper giving further leverage over the inventor.
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A trap often starts with a scam of a low cost and fast “Provisional Patent” filing hook, that sets up the inventor for a full fee (even bloated fee) Non-Provisional Patent application within nine or ten months, due to the force of law.
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Signs Of A Trap
The major component of the Trap:
  • Many of the signs of the Scam above are present.
  • There is near singular focus on providing just enough patent work to extract an initial filing fee.
  • There is little stated about the need to refile the “Provisional Patent” within 12 months or loose the invention.  The trap is to make the first filing, start the clock, and then when there are just weeks to act disclose the necessity of refiling or losing the invention. Often there is an even greater focus on trapping inventors to return under the force of law to use their full, and even engorged, priced services for the real non-provisional patent application.
  • There is little concerned with the integrity of the invention and the protective Image - Trap - Jawsquality of the “Provisional Patent.”
  • There is little concern with claiming the full scope of the inventive concept and inventor ownership.
  • There is little concern for the welfare of the inventor or the invention to potential loss with likely unprotected disclosure.

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Trap Characteristics
A trap often involves the above mentions “Provisional Patent” scam.
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The Scam – Inventors are drawn in by a low cost and fast “Provisional Patent” is filing.
The Scammer – Gains the initial sale and fees, as well as locks in the inventor relationship for the coming trap.
The Inventor – Gets a poorly prepared patent application filing that rarely fully protects the invention, often resulting in invention ownership and and patent rights being fully or partially lost.
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The Trap – U.S. Patent Law requires that a Provisional “Patent” Application must be refiled as a full Non-Provisional Patent Application or the ability to patent the invention will be barred or lost.
The Trapper – By the force of law, or the known trap, the patent service firm now get to file the full patent for a full and often bloated fee.
The Inventor – The full and even bloated fees are paid, because the inventor feels trapped. Feeling trapped, as time is now a few short weeks, they rationalize the original firm already know the invention and already has documents, etc. The inventor is paying a second time, now paying full fees for patenting an invention that they may have already lost.
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Trap Examples
See our full website for three examples of current scams.
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Mishaps
A mishap is a kind way of saying an inventor who self-prepared, self-filed, and self-prosecuted a patent made one or more irreversible or costly unintentional mistakes based on inaccurate information, myths, unawareness, or ignorance.Image - Mishap - Mistake
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The USPTO will not correct material errors. It is to their advantage to allow inventors to make mistakes. The patent system is a bargain between a sovereign government and the inventor. The inventor agrees to disclose a “useful art” that will benefit society and the government agrees to award a monopoly on that idea for a period of time (14 or 20 years). If the inventor wishes to disclose more of their invention and ask for less rights, due to an error, then that is the inventors prerogative and becomes an advantage to the USPTO, for various reasons. As such, it is not the USPTO’s responsibility to find and correct inventor errors.
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Self-Filing and Self-Prosecuting Inventor Perspective
Consider the following powerful and guiding statement from an inventor, who seeks control over the filing and prosecution process:
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“I will warn do-it-your-seflers.  I had to learn the hard way and lost rights that cost me a decent living worth of money… Thereafter, I learned that even though I feel more comfortable with managing my cases through the PTO, I do it with a team of patent attorneys I pay to consult every move. Find a way to save the money you need, use your taxes! take out a loan… DO NOT patent without professional assistance.”
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Common Inventor Errors
The following are the common initial mistakes that self-filing inventors most often make.
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Not Enabling – Just writing down your invention may not be enabling and therefore not protective, but simply a disclosure that serves more to teach others to freely use the invention.
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Partial Filing – This occurs by from too little and too simplified description and too few and too simplified drawings. There are very few opportunities to add information to a patent application once filed. Filing information later tells the USPTO that the invention does not actually exist or the missing information would have been known. Information added later has a later priority date and may be filed after someone else has already made the claim.
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Invention Patenting – Usually there is much less value in claiming the specific invention, rather than patenting the inventive concept, which many inventors do not recognize. 
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Implication Of Words – What is important about “comprising” vs. “consisting of” and their substitutes? Why usually avoid the tendency to write “means for …” or “steps for …?”. Why not write “the following patents are prior art?” Why “above,” “below,” etc. is less preferred than “adjacent.” Most self-filing inventors do not know the subtleties of these and other aspects of U.S. Patent Law and precedents.
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Too Few Claims – the “Provisional Patent” does not require claims, but does not disallow them. Without claims, there is no legal description of the invention. Further, there is more protection when there are more types of claims. Does one claim or one claim type protect against infringers who may be manufacturers, sub-component producers, sellers, and users. 
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Too Much Detail – Does the claim include too many embodiment details, use too many adjectives, describe too much spacial relationship, define materials too specifically, …, and more. Self-filing and self-prosecuting inventors often are too specific and therefore claim too narrow of available rights.
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Missed Dates and Deadlines – Inventors are not aware of dates and deadlines that can add additional burden, cost, and even lost rights. For instance USPTO office actions often indicate a three month window, but there are advantages to returning a response in two months.
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Many More Mishaps 
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Mishap Examples
See our full website for three examples of current scams.
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False Sense Of Rights And Protections
Consider the following attorney observations:
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“Unfortunately, too many provisional applications are hastily drawn and do not meet these requirements. When this happens, the provisional patent application is ineffective. When it turns out the provisional was inadequate, all patent rights can be lost.”
DA Tysver, www.BitLaw.com, Sourced 2014
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Most “Provisional Patents” are too hastily filed and largely ineffective, and the inventor is usually unaware of the partial, poor, and even worthless rights and protections of their filing.
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The “Provisional Patent” often therefore creates a false sense of invention rights and protection, with unfortunate results:
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Most Frequent Mistake – “Provisional Patent” Application that are improperly filed.
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“Provisional Patent” – There is no such thing as a “Provisional Patent,” but a Provisional Application. For an improperly filed “Provisional Patent” using the word “patent” suggests too much authority and too solidified rights and protections.
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Most Damaging Mistake – Having a false sense of rights and protections with an improper “Provisional Patent” inventors tend to say, do, and show too much. As a result the inventor and the “Provisional Patent” application simply teache others about the invention without protections to stop them from using it.
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Fortress PATENTS / IP is one of the few informative sources of applied patent awareness, as seen here about “Provisional Patents.” See www.FortressPATENTS.com for our full service and educational website. Fortress PATENTS / IP is available to assist inventors in properly securing their invention ownership, rights, and protections.
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