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A provisional application is a method of establishing an early priority date of invention by filing a specification describing the invention in the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). It serves as an alternative means of filing a regular utility patent application. However, a provisional application cannot be filed for design patents.
A provisional patent application never issues as a patent, unless it is converted or filed as a regular application within one year of the filing of the provisional application. Thus issued patent would have a priority date of the provisional filing date. Also, provisional application may be relied for priority date for a Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) application.
The life of an American patent is measured from the filing date of a regular patent application. Applicants who claim priority of their applications filed in a foreign country have the advantage of having one year in which to file their American application without having it counted against the patent term. Those inventors who file only in America or file first in America are at a disadvantage. As a result, the provisional application was introduced to provide a priority date without counting it against the life of the patent, under Uruguay Round of Agreements Act of 1994, and to place the inventors who file first in America on an equal ground with foreign inventors with respect to claiming priority. Since June 8, 1995, the USPTO has offered inventors the option of filing a provisional application for patent which was designed to provide a lower-cost first patent filing in the United States and to give U.S. applicants parity with foreign applicants under the GATT Uruguay Round Agreements.
A provisional application provides several benefits besides priority date: a) Claims are not needed: U. S. Patent and Trademark Office does not require claims for a provisional application. Although the requirements for preparing a provisional application are not as stringent as those for a regular utility application, a provisional must contain an enabling description and best mode to obtain the benefit of the priority date, b) The filing fee for a provisional is only $ 160 as compared to $ 770 for a regular utility application, c) a PCT application can be filed and relied on the provisional priority date, and d) if abandoned, the application will never be published or otherwise made public.
In addition to the above advantages, a provisional is recommended: a) if the inventor is in a hurry due to a pending or imminent publication and doesn't have enough time to prepare a regular application; b) if the inventor wants to test the market before he makes a substantial investment in terms of filing a regular application and lawyer fees; c) to raise venture capital; d) to obtain one year grace period to sell the invention without jeopardizing the foreign filing rights; e) if someone else is working on the same invention, a provisional would give an advantage in obtaining the earliest possible date of priority; and f) if the invention is not reduced to practice, the provisional application serves as "constructive reduction to practice."
However, there are some disadvantages that are associated with a provisional filing. Filing a provisional application delays the real application filing by one year, i.e., the it delays the patent issue by one year. The total cost of patent procurement will be higher due to provisional filing. Inadequate disclosure in the provisional application results in addition of new information when real application is eventually filed. The new information added in the real application will not get the priority date of the provisional. A patent will never issue from a provisional, unless a real application is filed in time. If a real application is not filed within one year, the provisional will be automatically abandoned and cannot be revived.
To obtain filing date for a provisional application a written description that complies with all requirements of 35 USC §112 1 and any drawings necessary to understand the invention and comply with 35 USC §113 are essential. However, a complete provisional application also includes filing fee under 37 CFR 1.16(k) and a cover sheet under 37 CFR 1.51(c) with names of all inventors.
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Scientists at Oregon State Universityhave developed a cling film that not only keeps food fresh but can also be safely eaten. The wrapping, which contains natural preservatives, can be fortified with vitamins and minerals. Used in liquid form, it can also be sprayed on fresh foods such as fruit to keep them fresher.
The World Health Organization estimates that only 400,000 of the 6 million people worldwide who need AIDS treatment receive combination drugs that could extend their lives. Two new AIDS drugs, each of which combines two medications within a single tablet, have been approved by federal regulators, the Food and Drug Administration's acting commissioner said Monday. Components of the new drugs had already been on the market as individual drugs. With the combinations, AIDS sufferers will be able to take a single pill per day instead of two, which experts say is especially pertinent in countries where patients are likely to have less experience with medical routine. The drugs give AIDS sufferers in poor countries a better chance of survival. It received a speedier review to ensure that safe and effective drugs are made available under the government's $15 billion emergency plan for AIDS relief.
About 2.4 billion people will likely face the risk of needless disease and death by the target date of 2015 because of bad sanitation, the World Health Organization and UNICEF said in a joint report. The hardest hit by bad sanitation are the rural poor and residents of slum areas in fast-growing cities, mostly in Africa and Asia. But the quality of drinking water and sanitation facilities also has dropped in some industrialized nations, particularly the former Soviet republics, the study said. The Millennium Development Goals were set at a United Nations-sponsored summit of world leaders in September 2000. In a declaration adopted by 189 countries, the leaders promised to cut in half the number of people who do not have safe drinking water and basic sanitation by 2015. Around 2.6 billion people currently lack access to basic sanitation; 1 billion use unsafe drinking water.
Nearly two billion people live in areas affected by malaria. The disease, transmitted by mosquitoes, is becoming a bigger threat as the parasite that causes it develops immunity to drugs used to fight it. Scientists have created a synthetic drug based on a chemical found in traditional Chinese herbal medicine. Artemisinin is a fever remedy that comes from the bark of the sweet wormwood tree that has been shown to help kill malaria parasites. But the drug is expensive to make in the laboratory. An international team of scientists in the United States, Britain, Switzerland and Australia said in research published in the British science journal Nature they had developed a synthetic drug, OZ277, designed to offer the benefits of artemisinin that could be cheaper to produce and more potent.
The FDA's fast-track program is designed to facilitate development and speed review of new drugs that are intended to treat serious or life-threatening conditions, and that demonstrate the potential to address unmet medical needs. The Food and Drug Administration granted fast-track status to an experimental cancer drug temsirolimus as an initial treatment for patients with advanced kidney cancer. Wyeth said the FDA previously gave temsirolimus fast-track designation in March 2002 as an alternative treatment for renal cell carcinoma patients if they fail initial therapy. The company is currently involved in a Phase III trial of temsirolimus as a first-line therapy to determine the survival benefit of the drug. Wyeth said a Phase II trial of temsirolimus showed that 7 percent of patients responded to the drug, while chemo- and radio-therapies have not significantly improved outcomes of the disease, which is commonly regarded as incurable and resistant to existing treatments. Temsirolimus works by inhibiting mammalian target of rapamycin kinase, an enzyme that controls the life cycle of cells. The treatment prevents the enzyme from directing a cancer cell to divide into new cells.
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