Patent applications are classified into two types: provisional patent applications and non-provisional patent applications. The provisional patent application is often the less expensive alternative for a first patent filing. The provisional patent application, as opposed to the non-provisional patent application, permits patent filing without a formal patent claim, oath or declaration, or any information disclosure statement of pre-existing innovations (prior art). It also permits the use of the phrase “Patent Pending” in conjunction with the description of the invention. The innovator has three advantages from submitting a provisional patent:
As compared to the non-provisional patent procedure, assessing the ability to patent your idea with a provisional patent is simpler and less costly.
Using a provisional patent application allows you to get an early filing date. The earlier provisional application filing date will be assigned to the subsequent publication or patent if a similar non-provisional application is filed within one year.
Since the twenty-year patent term is still assessed from the later non-provisional application filing date, your patent term may be extended by up to one year.
A provisional patent application is valid for 12 months from the day it is submitted, and this time cannot be extended. To benefit from the earlier filing date, an applicant who submits a provisional patent application must also file a comparable non-provisional patent application within the 12-month term. The patent term may be extended by up to 12 months by submitting a provisional application first, followed by a comparable non-provisional application during the 12-month period.
Despite the fact that a provisional patent application is less complicated than a non-provisional patent application, you must nevertheless fully explain the innovation. The filing date of the provisional application may remain valid even after the associated non-provisional patent application is submitted, but only if the invention was fully disclosed in the preliminary application.