What to know about filing a provisional patent

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Filing a provisional patent can be an important step for inventors or businesses that want to protect their invention or product without immediately incurring the costs of a full patent application. 

provisional patent application is a temporary application that can provide you with some protection while you develop your invention or gather the necessary resources to file a non-provisional patent application. 

If you plan to file a provisional patent, there are a few things to know. 

The provisional patent does not automatically lead to a patent

The provisional patent application does not result in a granted patent. The provisional application provides a filing date and establishes a priority date for the invention. This means that if someone else files a patent application for a similar invention after your provisional application filing date, you may be able to argue that you had priority and, therefore, should be granted a patent.

Provisional patent applications are not as detailed

A provisional patent application does not need to include all the formalities and details required for a non-provisional patent application. However, the provisional application must contain enough information to enable someone skilled in the relevant field to understand how to make and use the invention. Incomplete or insufficient provisional applications may not provide adequate protection.

A provisional application can be filed up to 12 months before filing a non-provisional patent application. This means the filer has a year to refine the item or gather resources before committing to a full patent application. Once filed, the provisional application is not published. This means the invention can still be kept confidential while the inventor is developing it or seeking funding.

It is important to remember that a provisional patent application doesn’t replace a non-provisional application. If the inventor wants full patent protection, they must file a non-provisional application within 12 months of filing the provisional application.