A USPTO provisional patent application simply secures your ‘spot in line’ or patent priority date for a patent for one-year under “patent pending” status. After you file a provisional application, you will have one-year to follow with a non-provisional (full) patent application to maintain your patent priority date. It’s important to secure your patent priority date, as the inventor with earliest patent priority date will be the only one to win any potential patent rights to an idea.
Provisional Applications are typically cheaper than non-provisional applications since they do not require the many formalities of a non-provisional patent application. Moreover, they are never disclosed to the public by the USPTO. This is why they are good tool for inventors who are still developing their idea. Having a provisional patent secured, the inventors can be confident that they have established a patent priority and can begin to disclose their invention to investors and developers who may help them further expand and realize their invention.
If you are interested in more detail related to your situation it is best to speak with an attorney.
Yuri Eliezer heads the intellectual property practice group at Founders Legal. As an entrepreneur who saw the importance of early-stage patent protection, Yuri founded SmartUp®. Clients he has served include Microsoft, Cisco, Cox, AT&T, General Electric, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Coca-Cola.
Source: Smartup Legal