A Low Cost Entry Point
A provisional application was designed to provide an early filing date and a lower cost for a patent application in the United States. In addition, a provisional gives U.S. applicants parity with foreign applicants.
Claims and oath are NOT required in a provisional application. Provisional application provides the means to establish an early effective filing date in a patent application. Provisional applications may not be filed for design inventions, however.
The filing date of a provisional application is the date on which a written description of the invention, and drawings if necessary, are received in the USPTO. The applicant would then have up to 12 months to file a non-provisional application (or utility application) for patent as described above. The claimed subject matter filed in the utility application is entitled to the benefit of the filing date of the provisional application if it has support in the provisional application.