While writing a provisional patent application by yourself might not be the smartest thing to do, if you can’t afford a reputable patent attorney, you may be better off doing so instead of hiring cheap unscrupulous professionals with unrealistic fee pricing. Please bear in mind though — a badly drafted provisional patent application can cause more harm than good and you should not be writing your own patent application unless as a last resort.
Steps to write a patent application by yourself:
1. Prepare a disclosure about how to implement your invention. You can use our sample provisional patent application template as a starting point. Make sure you follow all instructions provided in that document.
2. Provide drawings and flow charts and explain those figures in your disclosure, be thorough and provide as much detail as possible. As a general rule, a picture is worth a thousand words. PROVIDE NUMEROUS FIGURES. This is important because if you are self-filing your provisional application and made a mistake within the written portion of the disclosure, your attorney may be able to rectify the error (using your numerous figures) during the non-provisional filing. Note: one should never attempt to file the non-provisional application without an attorney. Thus, providing figures with multiple variations of the invention might be helpful.
3. If appropriate, your drawings and flow charts should also explain the process of how to make and use the invention.
4. Explain things as if you were trying to teach your invention to someone who has no knowledge about any underlying concepts of the invention. Note: while the law only requires the application to be written in as much detail so that a person of ordinary skill in the art may replicate your invention, we have generally noticed inventors tend to miss key portions of the underlying concept. Erring to the side of caution, you are better off explaining concepts in detail even if you may otherwise consider it as “obvious” to understand your invention.
5. Go to the USPTO’s website and file the application electronically. You may follow our detailed instructions on how to file a provisional patent application by yourself.