What is a provisional patent application?? 4 Answers as of December 02, 2010

I have heard there is such a thing as a "provisional patent". What on earth could that be?

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Kafantaris Law Group
Kafantaris Law Group | Theo Kafantaris
These are applications that are not reviewed, but merely save an early filing date for a later filed utility application. They are useful for inventors who would like to defer the full costs of a utility patent to a later date when they are more confident in the marketability of their invention.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 12/2/2010
Fish & Associates, PC
Fish & Associates, PC | Robert D. Fish
Provisional patent applications are basically placeholders, mini applications that draw a line in the sand for priority purposes. They provide a one-year window in which the applicant can file a formal utility application claiming priority to the provisional. Provisionals should have, but do not need any claims, and they do not have the same structural requirements as utilities. On the other hand, they still need to be enabling and to satisfy the best mode and written description requirements for whatever is claimed. The biggest problem that arises is that the provisional fails to have sufficient support to provide priority to a later-filed utility application.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 11/30/2010
Handal & Morofsky LLC
Handal & Morofsky LLC | Anthony H. Handal
A provisional patent application is an application for patent which is not examined and cannot issue into a patent. However, a regular non-provisional application can claim its filing date, and perhaps gain priority over later filed applications. A provisional application expires within one year and if the non-provisional is not filed, the rights which it creates expire.

The cost of filing a provisional application is lower than the cost for a regular. This is because it does not include a set of claims detailing the proposed coverage of the patent, and carries a lower government filing fee. There are advantages for filing the non-provisional patent application shortly after filing the provisional application, such as expediting examination and allowance of a patent (if approved by the USPTO) and more economy in the procedure overall.
Answer Applies to: New York
Replied: 11/30/2010
Mark S. Hubert PC
Mark S. Hubert PC | Mark Hubert
That is a patent application that lasts only 1 year - during that time you should file a utility patent on the invention. It is used for people that want to protect their idea but do not have the money to get a patent until they get funding.
Answer Applies to: Oregon
Replied: 11/29/2010
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