What is a provisional patent application?


A provisional patent application is a patent application with fewer legal requirements and lower filing fees than a utility patent application.  Provisional patent applications are not examined and do not issue as patents.  Rather, they act as a placeholder in time securing a priority (filing) date giving the inventor a year to file a utility patent application for the invention.  A provisional patent application can be an effective tool for postponing more significant financial investment in the patent process for a year when hopefully a better informed business decision can be made as to whether to continue pursuing protection.