A provisional patent application will never itself mature into an issued patent, but in the right circumstance (and done properly) a provisional patent application can be a very useful tool for inventors. This is particularly true now that the United States is a first to file country, which absolutely must be interpreted as inventors needing to file first before.There is a great misunderstanding among many inventors and entrepreneurs regarding what many simply refer to as a provisional patent. The first thing that needs to be said is that there is no such thing as a provisional patent. Instead, what you file is called a provisional patent application. Like any other patent application, a provisional patent application is effective to stop the clock relative to so-called statutory bars and immediately upon filing a provisional patent application you can say you have a patent pending. Provisional patent applications, done properly, are a great way to take a first step toward a utility patent.
A provisional patent application is not a provisional patent. That is, it does not indicate that an idea or invention has been approved or even reviewed for a patent. The application and its protection expire after 12 months, whether or not its inventor files a full patent application.