A provisional application is a quick and inexpensive way for inventors to establish a U.S. filing date for their invention, which can be claimed in a later-filed non-provisional application.
A provisional application is automatically abandoned 12 months after its filing date and is not examined.
An applicant who decides to initially file a provisional application must file a corresponding non-provisional application during the 12-month pendency period of the provisional application in order to benefit from the earlier provisional application filing.
A non-provisional application is examined by a patent examiner and may be issued as a patent if all the requirements for patentability are met.
Most patent applicants pay regular undiscounted patent fees.
However, fees for filing, searching, examining, issuing, appealing, and maintaining patent applications and patents are reduced by 50 percent for any small entity that qualifies for reduced fees under 37 CFR § 1.27(a), and are reduced by 75 percent for any micro entity that files a certification that the requirements under 37 CFR § 1.29(a) or (d) are met.