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Provisional Applications: The Considerable Points

Patents provide legal protection to the invention and therefore it is quite known to patent your invention before anyone uses your idea. A patent application is submitted at the patent office to request the patent examiners to go through your patent claims and required information for the patent grant. A provisional patent application can be submitted at the patent office before filing for an actual application as it provides various benefits to the inventor.

A provisional patent application is submitted without actually explaining the claims and other required information about the invention. It is basically a pre-submission of the patent application which helps the inventor to have an early filing date and get his name at the patent office. It gets the inventor, a tag of ‘Patent Pending’ at the patent office and that is included in the description of the invention.

Are Provisional Applications Examined?

It might be a misconception to assume that provisional applications are examined at the patent office, which is false. They only create a room for your final application at the patent office and are not examined.

They don’t contain any claim or declaration about the invention, it would not provide any means if examined. The prior art information is also not included in the provisional application, and it is included in the non-provisional or utility application.

Also read: How to Prepare a Right Patent Application?

What is the validity of Provisional Applications?

A provisional application is valid for a period of 1 year, that is, 12 months. It’s validity cannot be extended more than a year. It gives time to the inventor to prepare the provisional application with more accuracy and expertise.

The final application should be submitted within 12 months from the first filing date. In case, the applicant has missed the date, he can file the application within 14 months from the first filing date and avail the benefits same as he would if he applied within 12 months. This can be done by filing a grantable petition.

A claim should be made within 16 months from the date of the first filing of the provisional application or within 4 months of the filing of a non-provisional application, whichever is later.

Also read: How to Determine the Patent Validity?

Is Non-Provisional Application Compulsory?

USPTO gives you the option of converting your provisional application to a utility one and making it grantable. If you wish to not further go with the non-provisional application and use your provisional one as the final one, then that’s also an option. This needs to be done within 12 months of the provisional application’s filing date.

Also, if you change your mind and you don’t want to patent your invention, then you can just skip through. You may not go further with a utility application. This might waste the efforts or the cost that you have borne for the provisional application but that’s okay because you might have gone further with the process.

Also read: Utility Patent Drawing Requirements are Necessary or Not?


Getting deeper into the knowledge of provisional applications has a lot to offer but we came to know that provisional applications are important if used properly. These applications are although not examined but they create a space for the non-provisional application. You can make your status as ‘patent pending’ in the description of the non-provisional application of the invention. The provisional application is valid for a period of 12 months from the date of filing at the patent office.

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