A provisional patent application grants the inventor a filing date with the US Patent Office and the right to use “Patent Pending” or “Pat Pend” on the invention for a period of exactly one (1) year.
Filing a provisional patent application is a good way to get a patent application filed. These are relatively low-cost, as compared with a full utility patent application. The one year period prior to filing the full utility patent application does not count against the 20 year term. And this gives the inventor a year to market the invention and decide whether it is worth proceeding with the patent process.
A regular or full utility patent application must be filed before the one year lapses, or all rights to claim the filing date of the provisional patent application are lost.
A provisional patent application cannot be filed for a design patent.
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