The vocabulary of patents and trademarks is unique. The following terminology will help you understand the parts of a patent and elements of a preliminary patent search. For a complete list of terms and definitions visit the USPTO - Glossary,
A patent is a property right granted by the Government of the United States of America to an inventor “to exclude others from making, using, offering for sale, or selling the invention throughout the United States or importing the invention into the United States” for a limited time in exchange for public disclosure of the invention when the patent is granted. In the U.S. there are 3 types of patents:
• A provisional application for patent is a U. S. national application for patent filed in the USPTO under 35 U.S.C. § 111(b) . It allows filing without a formal patent claim, oath or declaration, or any information disclosure (prior art) statement. It provides the means to establish an early effective filing date in a later-filed non-provisional patent application filed under 35 U.S.C. § 111(a). It also allows the term "Patent Pending" to be applied in connection with the description of the invention.
Provisional application for patent (provisional application) has a pendency lasting 12 months from the date the provisional application is filed.
The 12-month pendency period cannot be extended. Therefore, an applicant who files a provisional application must file a corresponding non-provisional application for patent (non-provisional application) during the 12-month pendency period of the provisional application in order to benefit from the earlier filing of the provisional application.
In accordance with 35 U.S.C. § 119(e) , the corresponding non-provisional application must contain or be amended to contain a specific reference to the provisional application within the time period and in the manner required by 37 CFR 1.78.
• The Nonprovisional Application establishes the filing date and initiates the examination process. A nonprovisional utility patent application must include a specification, including a claim or claims; drawings, when necessary; an oath or declaration; and the prescribed filing fee.