What is the difference between a provisional patent application and a regular (or “utility”) patent application?


In certain circumstances, U.S. provisional patent applications can provide a tool for preserving patent rights while temporarily reducing costs. This occurs because the application is not examined or published during the year in which it is pending and claims are not required. A regular U.S. application and related foreign applications must be filed within one year of the provisional form in order to receive its early filing date. However, an applicant only receives the benefit of the earlier filing date for material that is adequately described and enabled in the provisional application. As a result, the patent attorney may need your assistance when an application is filed as a provisional.