If I was filing a provisional patent for an invention that works with an existing product, what is the most elegant way to refer to that other product in my provisional patent text?

For example, if I had invented an innovative case for an iphone, would I be wise to mention "iPhone" in the application? Lets pretend the invention is probably not useful for other brands of smartphone.

I understand no one will read my provisional anyway, but Id like the language to be compatible with what would appear in a real patent.

Thanks for any advice.

  • “I understand no one will read my provisional anyway“ - why do you want to file it then?
    – user18033
    Commented Jun 22, 2018 at 14:42
  • @DonQuiKong I think the OP means no one will read it unless a subsequent nonprovisional is filed. :)
    – DukeZhou
    Commented Jun 26, 2018 at 19:58

1 Answer 1


Just describe it fully and accurately. If limited to iPhone, I might mention not only the device, but the iOS operating system.

The main thing with the provisional is don't leave anything out. It's only an official document in reference to a subsequent nonprovisional application, and you can remove anything problematic for the nonprovisional. (i.e. you won't be penalized for including too much in the provisional, but only for leaving things out in terms of priority of potential claims.)

  • 1
    It is possible that statements in a provisional application regarding hard limitations of your invention or that you abandoned a certain approach to your invention could come back to bite you,
    – George White
    Commented Jul 12, 2018 at 22:15
  • @GeorgeWhite Thanks for commenting! My answer reflects "boilerplate" advice from a number of pattent attorneys, so it good to point out potential pitfalls.
    – DukeZhou
    Commented Jul 13, 2018 at 17:37

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