BizTerm Definition
provisional patent application (PPA)
Full Definition

An interim patent application that has the legal effect of providing the inventor with an early filing date for her invention. The provisional patent application is much less expensive, and much easier to prepare, than a regular patent application. It is examined by the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) only if: the inventor files a regular, complete patent application within a year of the provisional patent application's filing date, and there is some reason why the inventor needs to claim the earlier date (perhaps because a competing invention surfaced around the same time). The provisional patent application does not take the place of a regular patent application, but it does confer patent pending status on the underlying invention, which makes it easier for the inventor to find a potential manufacturer.

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