While it is important to file before your competitors, it is equally as crucial to write a provisional patent application correctly the first time. Hiring a patent attorney to assist you will certainly enhance the chances that you will “do it right.” I often check out the articles over at IPWatchdog.com | Patents & Patent Law - Patents, Software Patents, Patent Applications & Patent Law; in an informative article about provisional patent applications, the author comments that “the first rule of brain surgery is that you need a brain surgeon! Similarly, the first rule of drafting a patent application is that you need the help of a patent professional, which means a patent attorney or a patent agent.” So step one - hire a patent attorney!
The America Invents Act (effective March 16, 2013) certainly changed the landscape for patent rights a few year back. Before the Act’s enactment, the “first to invent” could claim rights to an invention over the “first to file.” In those instances, the USPTO would hold an interference hearing to determine if the “first to invent” claim had merit. The Act did away with those hearing and the USPTO now only considers the first inventor to file. This change undoubtedly encourages inventors to file a provisional patent application as soon as possible. Step two - act expeditiously!