Provisional patent applications are never published or examined by the USPTO. However, if a non-provisional application is filed within 1 year claiming priority to a provisional application, the provisional application will become publicly available for inspection approximately 18 months from the provisional filing date (i.e., priority date). The one exception is if an applicant requests non-publication at the initial filing of the non-provisional application.
If a provisional application is not converted within 12 months, the provisional application will be abandoned and will remain secret and inaccessible to the public.
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