Are Provisional Patent Applications Published or Made Publicly Available?

Are provisional patent applications published?

No, a provisional patent application is not published by the USPTO. However, they made be made publicly accessible under certain conditions. By remaining confidential, previously filed provisional applications will not block you from filing new patent applications in the future. The flip side of that coin is that your prior provisional patent applications will not be prior art against subsequently filed patent applications by third parties.

Need help with filing a provisional patent application? Call Vic at (949) 223-9623 or email to see how we can help you file a robust PPA.

Are provisional patent applications made publicly available?

It depends. If a nonprovisional application is filed within one 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 non-publication request is submitted with the initial filing of the nonprovisional application.

What if you fail to follow through with filing a nonprovisional application?

If a provisional application is not converted to a nonprovisional within 12 months, the provisional application will be abandoned and remain confidential. Abandoned provisional applications are inaccessible to the public. This also means that provisional patent applications generally will not be used as prior art against subsequently filed patent applications.

By not filing a nonprovisional application within one year of the provisional filing date, you will lose the benefit of the earlier priority date of the provisional application. It is possible to file a late nonprovisional application within 14 months of the provisional filing date.

If more than 14 months have passed since the filing date of your provisional patent application, there’s still hope. Check the date of your earliest public disclosure of the invention or product. If less than 12 months have passed since that earliest date of public disclosure, you can still file a patent application in the US under the 1-year grace period exception for inventors.

What is a smart way to file provisional patent applications?

Since a provisional patent application is not published, you can file several provisionals. You can pick and choose which provisional to cite in a later nonprovisional. In fact, your nonprovisional application may claim priority to multiple provisional applications as long as they were all filed within 12 months before your nonprovisional filing date.

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