US provisional patents can’t be granted but you can file a provisional patent application which if done correctly can be a very useful tool for inventors.

A provisional application for a US patent is:

  • US national application for patent filed in the USPTO
  • Filing without a formal patent claim, oath or declaration
  • Allows “Patent Pending” to be used with invention description
  • NB it is important to focus is on describing the invention as completely as possible

A provisional patent application lasts 12 months from the date the provisional application is filed so an inventor must file a non-provisional patent application claiming the priority of a provisional patent application within the 12 months.

In the US inventors need to file first before disclosing anything about their invention, offering it for sale or using the invention publicly.  A provisional patent application gives the benefit of a priority filing date without the patent term starting.  This is beneficial as anything that comes after your priority filing date cannot be prior art which an examiner can use against you when they examine your application.