A provisional application
reserves the filing date
for a non-provisional application,
which could be filed
to obtain utility,
design or plant patents.
FAQ Available Patent Applications
...regular & continuation applications
What are the different types of patent applications?
In the United States, unlike in most foreign countries, you must file your patent application within one year after you first reveal, publish or commercialize your invention. As you can imagine, pinpointing such date may be quite difficult, which in a legal world is synonymous with expensive. Therefore, the best way is to file a provisional application which is designed to hold your place in line. The regular patent application (utility, design or plant application) must be filed within one year after the provisional application was filed. Other applications include the PCT application (based on international treaty, used for extending deadlines for foreign filing), international, regional patent applications, and statutory invention registrations (utilized to accredit the invention to a particular inventor and to block any subsequent claims to his/her invention).
What is a continuation patent application?
A continuation application allows an inventor to add claims to his/her invention, that is in process of being approved for patent protection. Thus, a continuation application could be filed if, after already filing the regular application (known as the parent application), you would like to incorporate some additional claims to your invention disclosed in your regular application. Be that as it may, the important fact is that your continuation application utilized the same priority date and specifications as your parent application.
What is a continuation-in-part patent application?
A continuation-in-part application is frequently used to make some improvements to your original (parent) application. Therefore, this application would have substantially the same specifications as the parent application, but would be disclosing additional subject matter. The unchanged claims, copied from the parent application, utilize parent's priority date, while claims containing modified subject get a new filing date.
What is a divisional patent application?
A divisional application, as the name implies, is utilized to divide the parent application containing more than one distinct inventions. Typically, a division requirement is imposed by the patent Examiner by issuing what's called a "restriction requirement." Although a divisional application will have a different set of claims than the parent application, it will share the priority date with the parent application and have similar specifications.
Will my patent application be published?
The United States Patent and Trademark Office is not publishing provisional application alone. However, if you filed a provisional application to reserve an earlier filing date for your utility application, this provisional application becomes a part of the utility application which will eventually be published.