My invention is a printed circuit board with a micro-controller, which runs my software algorithm.

The algorithm is about 3500 lines of source code.

I just read USPTO rule that computer listing of move than 300 lines must go on CD. But I want to apply by EFS-WEB, and get the prov appl done ASAP.

Can I skip providing computer listing just for the provisional patent application, but then include it for the non-prov appl?


2 Answers 2


A patent is not a way to put some kind of copyright on your software. As far as I know, there is no reason to include that much code in "any" patent application.

To answer your question, you should not add new matter to the non-provisional if you already know that matter. If you add anything substantial, all claims relating to the new matter will have the new priority date. So if you add the main part of the description later, you could have filed later with almost the same effect.

Try getting a more abstract patent. If you need 3500 lines of code to describe what you are protecting, then taking your code and from there getting around your claims will be easier than reinventing what you wrote and getting around your claims from there. So basically, you would be hurting yourself with that application and it would have no value.

Oh and do you really think any examiner will read and understand 3500 lines of code? Getting that patent would not involve much fun.

  • "You cannot add new matter to the non-provisional". I don't believe this is quite true. While the added matter will not have the date of the provisional, it will still be validly part of the non-provisional.
    – Maca
    Dec 7, 2016 at 1:56
  • Well, yes, thats what I meant. But if you add a substantially important part of the explanation only later, there is no gain in filing the prov. earlier.
    – DonQuiKong
    Dec 7, 2016 at 6:14
  • You should describe the algorithm with equations and/or block diagrams. You should not list actual code. The code should be protected with copyright.
    – Eric S
    Mar 7, 2017 at 18:05

"Oh and do you really think any examiner will read and understand 3500 lines of code? Getting that patent would not involve much fun."

DonQuiKong, you seam to ignore that a PPA will not be examined. So nobody will read the code unless there is a patent dispute much later. The code (in addition to an abstract description) could be useful to demonstrate that an embodiment was already existent at the time of the PPA submission in case your patent is challenged by competitors much later.

  • 1
    There is no need to show that a working version existed at the time of filing.
    – George White
    Nov 10, 2021 at 16:07

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