To avoid the risk of any disclosure of the invention, while the invention is still at the stage of R&D, it is strongly advised to File a Patent Application with provisional specification and submit the complete patent specification within the next twelve months.
In terms of Section 9 of the Indian Patent Act, 1970, a patent application can be filed with a provisional specification to secure the novelty of the invention, the immediate advantage of a provisional specification is that the invention becomes safe at least from the point of view of leakage of information. However, the applicant must file the complete specification of the invention within 12 months of submitting the first application for patent with the provisional specification.
However, in case the Inventor is ready with its invention in the form of a new product or industrial process, then the application for the grant of the patent must be filed with complete specification. The complete specification can be submitted at any time after the filing of the provisional application; however, it must be filed with 12 months of making the first application.
The provisional specification is filed when the invention is not complete, and the research and development are midway, and the Inventor wants to protect the novelty of the invention. In other words, the provisional specification is the first disclosure before the controller of the patent by way of making a formal application in the prescribed manner. The complete specification is filed when the research and development are complete, and the product or the process is fully developed and is ready for mass production or usage. We would be discussing in the forthcoming paragraphs the provisional specification and why it should be filed at the earliest time possible.
All great inventions have their origin in an Idea, though ideas, as such, can not be conferred any protection. The inventions can be patented only if it is novel and new. By novelty, we mean that the invention has not been disclosed to any person, in other words, the invention and the inventive steps leading to the invention is known to only the Inventor or the legal applicant. To secure the novelty, the filing of a patent application with provisional specification is the only proven method.
Filing a patent application with provisional specification is an option for the inventor/applicant, and it is not mandatory. The patent application can very well be submitted with complete specification at the very first stage provided the Inventor is ready with its invention. However, it is an excellent method to ensure the secrecy of the invention if the same is still at the stage of research and development. You should understand that the provisional application does not mean filing a patent application with just rough details, but it defines the scope of the invention.
The complete specification should be closely related to what is in the provisional specifications. The filing of the complete specification does not erase the provisional specification filed earlier. It remains there all the time, and the examiner refers to the provisional specification also while examining the patent application. Hence the drafting of the provisional specification is of equal importance. It is noteworthy that if the complete specification is not filed within 12 months of submitting the patent application with the provisional specification, the application shall be deemed to have been abandoned.