Provisional Patent

Since June 8, 1995, the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) has offered inventors the option of filing a provisional application for patent which was designed to provide a lower cost first patent filing in the United States and to give U.S. applicants parity with foreign applicants under the GATT Uruguay Round Agreements.

A provisional application for patent is a U.S. national application for patent filed in the PTO under 35 U.S.C. §111(b). It allows filing without a formal patent claim, oath or declaration, or any information or prior art disclosure. It provides the means to establish an early effective filing date in a patent application and allows the term “Patent Pending” to be applied.

The period of up to one year of pendency for the provisional application is excluded from the term calculation of a granted patent that relies upon the provisional application for patent, thus providing a term endpoint that is 21 years from the provisional application filing date. (Copied from PTO site)


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