Provisional patent vs Regular patent

A provisional and a regular patent application are two terms one would come across most frequently when dealing with patenting activities.

This article is our attempt to help the inventors and investors demystify the concept of provisional and regular patent application and prepare a sound patent filing strategy.

Here’s an audio which will help you understand this topic better. Do listen to this. Lots of insights!

First things first, a provisional patent application and a regular patent application are not two different ways of filing patents; rather they are two different stages in the entire patent cycle.

The concept of provisional patent application was introduced to help inventors protect their inventions typically when the invention is in a very nascent stage and needs to go through several developments to shape into a product. On the other hand, a regular patent application has to mandatorily disclose the invention in complete details with all the working components and processes.

Thus, a provisional patent application clearly gives the benefit to the inventors in terms of protection of their ideas at a very early stage.

It must be borne in mind that a provisional patent application must be converted into a regular patent application by way of disclosing the complete details of the invention within twelve months from the day of filing the provisional patent application.

Here we give out few more reasons as to why it is an encouraging move/smart move to file a provisional patent application first, followed by the regular patent application:

  • A provisional patent application is never examined by the patent office but gives the patent pending tag, just like a regular patent application
  • A provisional patent application need not be as detailed as a regular patent application, therefore it involves less time and less cost
  • A provisional patent application is admissible as a priority document for filing your patent application in any foreign country
  • As a provisional patent application is recommended for an invention in early stages of development, a well written provisional patent application gives protection to all the products that are eventually brought about by the invention

Therefore, it is advisable to file a provisional application as soon as possible. Simply think of it as the stitch in time that would save you nine additional stitches.


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