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what is a provisional patent?

    • 7 posts
    September 30, 2012 5:32 AM EDT

    One of the most common questions for first time inventors is "What is a provisional patent".   The short answer is that it is a type of patent application which can be used to provide preliminary protection on a new invention (such as a product, process, or even software method).   Here are the types of patent applications and a provisional patent application falls under the "Utility" category:

    what is a provisional patent

    It is important to note that a provisional patent application is an application only and will only last for 12 months.  It is not a full patent and actually will never turn into a full issued patent unless you take additional steps.   So why bother?

    A provisional patent application is cheaper and easier to file than a full non-provisional patent application.  For this reason many people will file a provisional patent application, use that 12 month time period to test out or validate their idea, and if it still looks good, then proceed with a full non-provisional patent application.  

    If you want to learn more about what is a provisional patent, or get a free template to start your own provisional patent, you can download one here:


    Registered USPTO patent agent with 11+ years of patent filing experience. Filed over 500 patent applicaiton in many technology areas. Check out my website: