What is a provisional patent application?

A provisional patent application is a type of US national patent application that establishes an early priority filing date for an invention. A provisional patent application is valid for exactly 12 months from the date it is filed. A corresponding non-provisional patent application (either a US utility application or a PCT application) must be filed during the 12-month provisional period. ITA often begins by filing a provisional patent application with the USPTO. A provisional patent application provides the inventor with one additional year to generate more data, provides ITA an opportunity to market the invention to commercial entities, establishes a priority date for the patent application, and provides an additional year of patent protection if a patent eventually issues.