In this practice guideline
Filing a provisional specification
0. Applications with provisional specifications
A provisional specification contains only a broad specification of the invention.
A provisional application:
- Is not examined by IPONZ.
- Needs to disclose the invention in sufficient detail to provide basis for claims that may be made at a later stage, but not the full details.
- Is given a case number which can be searched for on the register. This is a separate number to an application with a complete specification.
- Establishes a priority date.
Applications with provisional specifications may be made through our online service. Applicants must provide the following:
- A provisional specification in English or Maori
- Payment of the appropriate fee.
- An address for service in New Zealand.
Where an applicant wishes to pursue an application for a patent using the priority date from their provisional they must file the complete specification within twelve months of the filing date (automatically extended to 15 months).
Cases with provisional specifications are initially marked as Filed on the register. At the end of the fifteen month period - the twelve month period, with the three month extension period – the cases are marked as Closed on the register and claims for priority can no longer be made.
Before the conclusion of the fifteen month period the applicant may alter the filing date of their provisional specification, making it up to six months later than the original filing date (post-dating). See Voluntary Amendments to Patent Applications. Deadlines for filing of complete specifications are extended in line with the new filing date.