What Is The Difference Between A Provisional Patent Application And A Regular Patent Application?
A provisional patent application can be filed in the U.S. Patent Office for an invention, and will be pending for exactly one year from the date of filing. Provisional patent applications are never examined by the U.S. Patent Office. During this time, however, the business owner can mark the invention as “Patent Pending” or “Pat. Pend.” A provisional patent application automatically goes abandoned after one year from the date of filing, and so a regular patent application has to be filed claiming priority to the provisional patent application before the one year expires.
A patent attorney can help file regular patent application in the U.S. Patent Office. Unlike the provisional patent application, the regular patent application will be examined by an Examiner at the U.S. Patent Office.
The U.S. Patent Office typically takes 1-3 years (sometimes longer) before they examine a patent application. But during this time, and until the patent application either issues or goes abandoned, you are entitled to mark the invention as “Patent Pending” or “Pat. Pend.” In addition, there is nothing preventing business owners from licensing or selling rights in the patent application (e.g., to a manufacturer), or from selling the product of your invention. In fact, you should get started marketing your invention as soon as the patent application is filed.