By David M. DeMay (inventorsdigest.com)
In the inventor community, many possess a limited understanding of the U.S. patent process.
One of the most common misunderstandings relates to the notion of a
“provisional patent.” I’ve heard people say, “I have a provisional
patent” or “I am protected because I have filed for a provisional
patent.” Because of their misunderstanding of the process, many have
unintentionally surrendered any patent rights they may have secured for
There is no such a thing as a provisional patent. There is, however, a provisional application for patent, which is just that – an application. It’s not a granted patent.
A provisional application for patent provides a way to establish an
early priority date for a subsequently filed non-provisional
application. Once you file a provisional application, you can use the
term “patent pending.”
A quick primer: ...