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29 Oct, 2022 0 Editorial Team

Learning About Provisional Patent Applications

Provisional patent applications are simple and inexpensive techniques to take ownership of innovation. You describe what you have invented. And a filing date when you submit provisional patent applications to the United States Patent Office (USPTO).

The usefulness of filing dates in patent law is because they generally prove who invented a specific invention first. And, thus, who is eligible for its rights? It’s possible that somebody, somewhere, is having the same thought as you right now! The right to get a patent for an innovation belongs to whoever submits it to the USPTO first and has an older filing date. You can market your invention legally by using the phrase “patent pending” if you have provisional patent applications.

Even though the full proper name of a provisional patent application is “provisional patent,” this post may call it a “provisional patent” for clarity. This is because, as further explained in this post, a provisional patent application is still not a patent.

A complete patent, also called a non-provisional patent, differs from a provisional one. Compared to submitting a provisional patent application, submitting a non-provisional patent requires much longer time and financial commitment. An expert patent lawyer needs a lot of time to create a full non-provisional patent application.

The skills of an engineer with expertise in the invention field and artists who can create patent drawings are generally also used. The more extended period needed to develop the application refers to the greater fee required to produce the application. However, you can temporarily but affordably file your idea if you choose to use provisional patent applications. It’s crucial to understand the concept of superficially.

The 12-month duration of a provisional patent application makes it a temporary document. To keep the original filing date, you must change the provisional patent application into a complete non-provisional patent application before the end of the 12 months. In other words, a provisional patent application is a temporary solution, a technique to quickly gain entry into the Patent Office by informing it that you have an innovation on the date the application was initially filed.

However, the provisional patent application needs to be changed into a non-provisional patent application before it runs out of time within the year to keep the filing date. You will lose your filing date, and the provisional patent application will disappear as if you had never filed it if you do not change it into a non-provisional application and allow it to express the date could cause you to start moving up in line behind someone if you were formerly in front of them.

Your original filing date was lost because you neglected to change the provisional patent application into a non-provisional patent application. You now find yourself behind someone else in line to get a patent for the innovation.

Because it usually takes less time to prepare, a provisional patent application may be quicker and less expensive than a non-provisional application. Even though patent claims, the formal language of a full non-provisional patent, are not necessary, one must disclose all the specifics of their innovation.

Costs can usually be reduced with less work required. Furthermore, the US Patent Office does not evaluate your innovation when you submit a provisional patent application to them. This indicates that they won’t define when your creation qualifies for a patent and meets the criteria for one.

The provisional patent application aims to hold your filing date temporarily. The filing date of your provisional patent application will be transferred more and more into your full non-provisional patent application if you do so before it expires, trying to appear as if your non-provisional was submitted on the same day as your provisional.

The US Patent Office will only review your patent application once you file a non-provisional patent application and decide that you meet the criteria for a patent based on the patentability criteria.

Let’s take such an example of the provisional patent in action. I will refer to a provisional patent application as a “provisional patent” for simplicity and a non-provisional patent application as a “non-provisional patent.” Say you submit a provisional patent on February 1, 2010. It will be over on 2/1/2011, 12 months from now.

Suppose that after bringing your invention to trade shows, a rival stole your concept and submitted his patent application on March 1, 2010. This day will be known as the “Competitor’s Filing Date.”


You are okay staying in front of him in line that, as you can see above, your filing date is 2/1/2010 and the competitor’s date is 3/1/2010. Because your date is older than the competitor’s date, the patent office will accept that you were the first to file a patent application. Because your date is earlier than the competitor’s, you will have the first chance to get this patent. Therefore, before the provisional patent expired on February 1, 2011, you must change it into a non-provisional patent to maintain the 2/1/2010 date.

Let’s assume that before the provisional patent application expires, you change the provisional patent into a non-provisional patent. The provisional patent’s expiry date of 2/1/2010 is converted to a non-provisional patent.

This data is yours to keep all through the patenting procedures. The patent office will understand that your non-provisional filing on January 31, 2011, was related to your provisional filing on February 1, 2010, and will allow you to use the earlier 2/1/2010 date. The patent office will then accept that you are first in line for a patent because your date of 2/1/2010 is earlier than the opponent’s date of 3/1/2010.

Unfortunately, your provisional patent will expire and become invalid and null if you do not convert it into a non-provisional patent by that date, which is 2/1/2010. You no longer have your date of 2/1/2010 as a result. You still might file the non-provisional patent, but since it is filed after the provisional patent has expired, it cannot carry over its filing date.

The non-provisional patent, in this situation, will only receive the filing date. Let’s take the position where you let your provisional expire on 2/1/2011 and still go to file your non-provisional on 2/15/2011. Since your provisional patent has expired, the non-provisional can only mention the date it was filed, which is 2/15/2011. This is the result:

As you can see above, the provisional patent disappeared because you filed the non-provisional patent after it went out of validity. All that is left is the non-provisional patent, filed on February 15, 2011, which is later than the rival’s filing date of March 1, 2010. As a result, your opponent is ahead of you in the battle for the patent.

Therefore, the protection provided by a provisional patent application is 1) only temporary and 2) only applicable if the provisional patent is turned into a non-provisional patent before it expires. Any protection you may have had will end with the provisional patent if you allow it to expire. Therefore, it is essential to convert a provisional patent into a non-provisional patent as soon as possible.

A provisional patent application cannot be extended, so take note of that.

It will be lost forever if you don’t change it into a non-provisional patent before it expires. It is costly, but it is possible to continue it for another 18 months by filing a PCT patent application. Resubmitting a new provisional patent application is an opportunity if you cannot extend a provisional patent with a PCT patent application or convert it into a non-provisional patent before it expires. However, there are disadvantages because your previous provisional patent’s filing date will continue to expire whereas your new provisional patent will provide you with a new filing date. Can I Renew a Provisional Patent Application? Provides more details on this idea.

Last, it’s important to remember that a provisional patent application is not yet a patent. You cannot legally bring a lawsuit against someone who creates or sells your innovation. You don’t have full patent rights or the power to bring legal action against someone who makes or sells your creation until a non-provisional patent application is submitted to and approved by the US Patent Office.

If your patent application is just provisional, you have already secured your filing date and reserved a place in line at the Patent Office. Only if you convert to  non-provisional provisional patent applications before the provisional patent applications expire can you use that filing date. The non-provisional patent application will inherit the provisional patent application’s filing date if converted. Finally, you will only have full patent rights and the power to prevent others from producing and selling your innovation if the non-provisional patent application is accepted by the US Patent Office.