Nonprovisional - A provisional patent gets an inventor a filing date.
However, after one year a provisional patent expires. If a nonprovisional is
filed within one year, it will assume the priority date of the provisional
patent. The nonprovisional patent is what is prosecuted and is what hopefully
issues as a patent.
So why file a provisional?Provisional patents are cheaper than nonprovisional patents. And it
gives the inventor a year to determine if the invention really has commercial
potential. Additionally, there are events that occur that can bar an inventor
from receiving a patent. If an inventor publishes, sells, or publically uses
the invention, a patent must be filed within one year for protection within the
United States. (An inventor must file before he does any of these events to get
foreign patent protection.)
There are cases when an inventor is in a rush to publish an
article or give a presentation that discloses the invention and it is prudent
to file a provisional application before the activity.