Difference between Provisional Patent and a Patent

Through patent, an exclusive right is given to a new solution to some problem. It gives protection to such solutions from being copied or exploited without the permission of the patent owner. The Patents Act, 1970 has provided two ways of filing an application for a patent under Section 9.

The two ways for filing a Patent application are:

  1. Patent application with Provisional specification (Provisional Patent Application)
  2. Patent application with Complete specification (Complete Patent Application)

This article is focused on describing the differences between a Provisional Patent and a Complete Patent.

What is a Complete and Provisional Patent Application?

A) Complete Patent Application:

A patent application that does not claim any priority in a convention country or without any reference to any other application filed earlier is under process in the Patent Office.

B) Provisional Patent Application:

Where the invention is still under experimentation stage, the inventor can file a provisional application. This type of application helps to get the priority date of the invention.

After filing a provisional application, the inventor must file the complete specification of the invention within 12 months of filing a provisional application. If the complete specification is not filed within the specified time limit, the application will become abandoned.

What type of details are provided in Provisional and Complete Patents?

As per the Patent Act, 1970, the provisional patent application shall include the description of the invention, drawings if directed by the Controller.

In a Complete patent application, a complete description of the invention, its use/method/operations by which it is performed, the scope of such invention, and abstract providing technical information of such invention. It shall also include any developments made in the invention in addition to the details described in the provisional application.

Is the filing of a Provisional Application mandatory for the inventor?

Filing a provisional application is not mandatory. An inventor can file a provisional application when the invention is not yet complete. By filing a provisional application, the inventor can take advantage of the priority date for his invention, and can also estimate the market potential of his invention.

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