What is a Provisional Patent?

Mat Grell asked:

Provisional Patent Application (1 year term) – Provisional applications are US applications for a patent which do not mature into an issued patent (not examined by the USPTO) unless further steps are taken by the applicant within twelve (12) months of filing the provisional application.

What are Provisional Patents used for?
Such applications are designed to provide lower cost first patent filing by reducing the formal requirements such as not requiring formal drawings, claims, oath and declarations, or an information disclosure statement; however, if drafted properly the provisional application provides the inventor with an application priority date and “patent pending” status.

Note: A provisional application must be converted to a non-provisional application within one year of the filing date to maintain priority based on the provisional filing. Failure to file the non-provisional could result in loss of patent rights, including a complete bar to obtaining a patent.

Here is a checklist to help you decide what type of patent is right for you:

What is my timeline for getting my invention to the marketplace?
Is there an urgency to market my product?
What is my budget for obtaining a patent?
Once patented, what is my marketing plan?
Is there someone I can call who has filed a provisional patent in the past?
Have I visited trusted websites to learn as much information as possible about this type of patent?

Lastly, I want you to understand that obtaining a patent can be the biggest day of your life. Please don’t jump into anything until you have done your homework.

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