Different firms use different practices. Recently, I met a patent attorney who works at a firm where they prefer to write really long provisional patent applications that can stand on its own. So I thought maybe I'd talk about pros and cons of writing really long and detailed provisional patent applications.
- When you hand over a detailed provisional patent application to a client, they feel like they get their money's worth. I tend to write shorter provisional patent applications (I'll tell you why in a little bit), and about half of my clients come back and try to add more to it (usually in the background section, which is not that important).
- If you ever forget to write something in your nonprovisional patent application, you can say you still included it by saying whatever information you forgot was incorporated by reference.
- Writing a pretty detailed provisional application allows you to claim the priority date for whatever you disclosed in the nonprovisional patent application.
- Well, it's not "bad" to write long provisionals, so maybe there are no true cons. But it is important to understand that provisional patent applications do not give you patent rights. Provisionals are never published. They are never prosecuted. They are never registered. So my thought is, "Why do you spend extra time preparing for something that's not going to give you patent rights?" Don't get me wrong, I write all the important stuff so it's full of meat. I just cut out the fat.