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The Law Office of Joan I. Norek

        Intellectual Property

            Chicago, Illinois

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Provisional vs Non-Provisional Patent Application


  • both are applications; neither is a patent

  • both provide patent-pending status instantly

  • provisionals are confidential USPTO documents not available to the public (unless and until a subsequent non-provisional is publicly available)

  • non-provisionals are confidential USPTO documents not available to the public unless and until published and/or issued as a patent

  • patents are issued off non-provisionals (after USPTO examination)

  • no patents are issued off provisionals

  • provisionals will not undergo USPTO examination

  • provisionals must be converted to (refiled as) non-provisionals within a year of their filing dates

  • the one-year conversion-to-non-provisional requirement strictly applied without hardship exceptions or extensions

  • provisionals do not speed things up and usually slow things down

  • USPTO examination delays are not cause for provisional filing

  • non-provisionals are in line for the required USPTO examination and provisionals are not

  • provisionals cannot be converted into (refiled as) design patent applications

  • foreign-country applications must be filed within a year of the first filing date, regardless of whether provisional or non-provisional

  • both require a description sufficient to enable someone to practice the invention

  • USPTO fees due on filing less for provisional

  • informal drawings accepted for provisional

  • neither has value if the subject does not meet patentability standards (new and nonobvious in comparison to what is known)

  • provisional is not the customary (much less required) first step in seeking patent protection

  • customary first step in seeking patent protection is a patent search, and then a non-provisional patent application.

  • adding a provisional to the patent application process increases overall costs

Don't provisional unless there is a serious need to delay the costs of a non-provisional patent application.

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The Law Office of Joan I. Norek
25 E. Washington Street, Suite 1400
Chicago, Illinois  60602
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Use of this website does not create an attorney-client relationship.  This website provides information and resources but is neither legal advice nor a substitute for the legal advice of an IP attorney.  Retentions are subject to the discretion of the firm.
This website was designed and constructed by Joan I. Norek.