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I am a resident in Cape Town , SA, what steps would I need to take to register a provisional patent in the US?

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The process for filing a provisional patent application is described on the USPTO website; it is basically just a complete and precise write up of the invention without any claims. The final patent can only benefit from priority date of material which is clearly described in the provisional patent, so having a complete description is in your interest.

Some countries (UK for example) makes it illegal to file for inventions with a foreign nation without first making the invention known to that country -- if that is the case for SA you may need to first file a SA patent before you can legally file a US patent, and if so you would not file a US provisional patent as the invention has already been disclosed -- instead you would just file a regular US patent claiming priority date from the SA filing of the SA patent.

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    It is incorrect that the final patent can only claim subject matter described in the provisional application. It is that only the claims in the final patent that are properly supported in the provisional can get the benefit of the provisional's filing date. – George White Jul 31 '14 at 5:35
  • Thanks, I don't want to file it locally so that may be an inhibiting factor. I need to read up more – peterretief Jul 31 '14 at 7:51
  • @GeorgeWhite -- changed wording to correct that -- thanks. – Soren Jul 31 '14 at 13:52
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    If there is a requirement in SA for a foreign filing license it may be possible to get that without actually filing there. Also, Cape Town is beautiful. – George White Jul 31 '14 at 18:02
  • Its a stunning place – peterretief Aug 4 '14 at 20:17

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