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Is a Temporary or Provisional Patent Registered?

Often, inventors will claim to have a registered patent, though filing a request at the patent office does not always ensure the rights to a registered patent. Often, inventors are mistaken to think that they have a registered patent when in fact they have a temporary request that, despite being filed at the patent office, does not grant them the right to the patent, i.e. they have not yet been granted the twenty-year monopoly of a registered patent. Whilst the inventor may have filed a request at the patent office, it may still not have been examined, and no approval has come from an examiner to make the invention eligible to be granted a registered patent. A registered patent is defined by a number of conditions that the invention must meet during its examination. Amongst the conditions on which the patent examiner will judge are its innovation and the inventive advancement. The examiner will also ensure that the invention is not too complicated for an average professional in the field to understand. Often, the patent attorney will not explain to the inventor the implication and the difference between a registered patent and a temporary or provisional patent.

In our opinion, it is important that the inventor understands the status of his invention and its application to the patent office, in order that he will know how to continue through the process, and exactly what his rights are. Our company assists inventors and entrepreneurs through the different stages of the invention, aided by professionals in the relevant areas for each invention. It is important that a certified patent attorney deals with the various patent issues and the patent application procedures, but it is equally important that the inventor receives an explanation and understands what is happening.

Inventors who say they have a temporary or provisional patent do not own a registered patent. A temporary or provisional patent is not a true patent at all. It is more correct to say that it is a temporary application that is usually filed at the US patent office, officially called a “provisional application”, and it grants the applicant an early filing date for 12 months. Before the 12 months are up, the applicant must file an application to undergo patentability testing by a patent examiner. Without filing for a patent within the year, the provisional application will not mature into an issued patent. Only if the patent examiner receives the request that was filed before the end of the first year, then can the inventor be awarded a registered patent.

In each case it is worth considering whether there is reason to apply for a provisional patent (temporary application) or whether it is possible to skip this stage, and apply for a patent from the outset. This will save the applicant time, and his request will be examined at an earlier stage, rather than waiting 12 months before filing for the patent. Filing for a provisional patent does not obligate the applicant to wait until the end of the 12 months; rather the applicant may file for a patent at any point before this point by combining the initial application with all the relevant documents.
 
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