- Blue Belt
- Posts: 431
- Joined: Mon Feb 19, 2007 6:23 pm
- Location: Tempe, AZ
A provisional patent application is more like a reservation than an actual patent. This dated application simply establishes proof of invention with the USPTO. It does not actually offer any protection in itself – what it does do is establish a "filing date" for a relatively cheap fee.
Because the cost of filing a provisional patent application - generally around one hundred dollars in government fees - is noticeably lower than the cost of filing a non-provisional patent, "provisionals" remain a popular option among inventors and even companies. However, not only does a provisional application still require a fully "enabling" disclosure, but the date of filing it may establish is useless if a non-provisional patent is not filed pursuant to the same innovation(s) within one year of filing the provisional application.
Many people simply use "provisional patents" as a form of procrastination. However, at times they can represent an excellent option for inventors and corporations that have not yet decided whether they care to invest significant money into developing (or patenting) a specific product or concept. They are also a very good option for those who simply want to claim that their product is “patent pending” without spending much money.