Are provisional patent applications published?

No, a provisional patent application is not published or examined by the USPTO. However, they made be made publicly accessible under certain conditions.

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 an applicant requests non-publication at the initial filing of the non-provisional application.

What if a nonprovisional application is not filed?

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. This also means that provisional patent applications generally will not be used as prior art against subsequently filed patent applications.

What is a smart way to file provisional patent applications?

Since a provisional patent application is not published, you can file several provisionals without worrying about them being published. You can pick

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Vic Lin

Startup Patent Attorney, Cofounder at Innovation Capital Law Group
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