Monday, October 11, 2010

Problem with my Provisional Patent Application

Well, I got some paperwork in the mail a couple of days ago from the US patent office. The letter was regarding the provisional patent application I filed online a few weeks ago. When I filed the application online, part of the USPTO’s website was down and the credit card payment did not occur.

What I received from the patent office was a:


Here is what the notice states:

“Items Required To Avoid Abandonment:”

An application number and filing date have been accorded to this application. The item(s) indicated below, however, are missing. Applicant is given TWOMONTHS from the date of this Notice within which to file all required items and pay any fees required below to avoid abandonment. Extensions of time may be obtained by filing a petition accompanied by thee extension fee under the provisions of 37FR 1.136(a).

To avoid abandonment, a surcharge (for late submission of filing fee or cover sheet) as set forth in 37 CFR 1.16(g) of $25 for a small entity in compliance with 37

CFR 1.27 must be submitted with the missing items identified in the notice.


Total additional fee(S) required for this application is $25 for a small entity

$25 Surcharge.

Replies should be mailed to:
Mail stop Missing Parts
Commissioner for Patents
P.O. Box 14500
Alexandria VA 22313-1450

Registered users of EFS-Web may alternatively submit their reply to this notice via EFS-Web

For more information about EFS-Web please call the USPTO ?Electronic Business Center at 1-866-217-9197 or visit our website at

If you are not using EFS-Web to submit your reply, you must include a copy of this notice.

In addition I got a three page confirmation. It listed my application number, filing date, and it had a confirmation number listed.

So apparently I was short $25 when I sent the check to the patent office.

I was thinking about just letting the provisional application go abandoned until I remembered that I put the whole damned thing up on the web. That changes things a bit. If I had not put all the stuff up on the web, allowing the provisional patent go abandoned would have had no affect on the future of my harvester patents. But since I also published the same information on the web it is now prior art. That would eliminate my ability to obtain patent protection on any of the elements I disclosed in the application.

I guess I will go ahead and send another check, this one for $25.00.

I got an email from a potential customer a few days ago asking if I would be willing to sell him the headers and then he could build the rest of the machine himself. I thought about it and decided that I would be willing to do that.

The risk inherent in such a deal as I see it would be if the customer was unable to get the machine to work well due to problems with his design or implantation. That could cause negative publicity about my machine.

But I have to get this project going somewhere so I am going to go for it. I had to tell the potential customer though that I wasn’t done testing my air cylinders used for the cutting., and I really need to make sure the cylinders will hold up for at least 500,000 strokes.

I told him I would contact him once I was comfortable with the air cylinders.

Now, back to my cylinder testing…