What is the Difference between Provisional Patent and Permanent Patent?

calendar22 Feb, 2021
timeReading Time: 4 Minutes
Difference between Provisional & Permanent Patent

A patent is an intellectual property rights exclusively granted for invention. A sovereign authority is authorised to issue a legal document exclusively to the inventor to make, sell and use an invention for a particular number of years. So, grant of patent ensures protection of the innovation and gives a good reputation. Thus, the advantages of registering a patent by knowing the difference between the provisional and the permanent patent is essential so as to accordingly apply for the same.

Why patent registration in important?

This form of incorporeal right granted to the inventor motivates them to advance the state of technology or to keep expanding the invention for better prospects. To qualify for patent, the invention must be novel, statutory, non obvious and useful.

In India, the legislation that is dealing with Patent is the Patent Act, 1970 and the Patent Rules, 1972. Any process, computer software, any method to manufacture, technical application apparatus, machine, drugs or chemicals can be patented. An invention is the outcome of a hard work and so exclusive right is given to the inventor so that no one else can use or make profit of the same without the consent. Therefore, patent registration is an essential requirement to prohibit others from using.

What is Provisional Patent?

It is very important to understand that in the present Intellectual Property industry, there is nothing like provisional patent in particular. However, an application for provisional patent is introduced with a motive to step towards the way of getting strong and stringent patent protection.

The main aim of filing a provisional patent application is fundamentally an essential step so as to allow the inventor to keep working on his invention without worrying about any kind of its theft and to carry on with the patent operations and continue with the advance development.

The word itself says that it is to be applied provisionally so it is a legal document that is to be filed on an early date and gets changed into a permanent patent only when the inventor applies for a granted permanent patent.

What is Permanent Patent?

The permanent patent is the application by the inventor whereby he gives the complete description about the invention in detail and provides the best process, strategy and scope of carrying out the invention. Permanent patent is a kind of techno-legal document.

It provides protection against an unlawful use, creation, copying and sharing of the exactly same or alike invention. The Intellectual Property Right through a permanent patent application means no one can use the invention without the permission of owner.

Read our article:5 Remarkable Benefits of the Patent Registration in India

Difference between Provisional Patent and Permanent Patent

The few differences between the provisional patent and permanent patent are given below:

Difference between Provisional Patent and Permanent Patent

Cheap Cost

One of the major reasons to file a provisional patent rather than filing a permanent one is that the provisional patent application is less expensive than the permanent one. Therefore, it is usually preferred by the individuals and companies and beneficial for anyone available with a restricted budget.

Furthermore, provisional patent registration is not burdened with any legal formalities or necessities which are mandatorily required in case of permanent patent registration.

Conservation of Invention

By filing provisional patent application it facilitates the conservation of invention and the inventor can continue to add, supplement, and maintain the invention and work upon it until he is satisfied and then one the inventor is done with the same he can move an application for permanent patent.

But on the other hand once an inventor files an application for permanent patent then the inventor will not be left with an option to add or modify a new subject matter or make improvements in the invention. Hence, for securing the already created part the inventor prefers applying for the provisional patent application.

The Role of the Patent Office

The role of the patent office is another significant aspect that not only differentiates the permanent patent application and provisional patent application from each other but makes the application of the provisional patent much better.

Patent Office does not give emphasis to the provisional patent application unless the inventor files a permanent patent application that claims benefits and privileges of the priority under the provisional application filing. It means that there is no requirement for an extra fee associated with the Patent office or Attorneys.

In simple words, the provisional patent application allows for laying the basis for attainment of a patent, get benefitted with patent-pending, and preserve the funds in the process, while the permanent does not serve these kinds of interest.

Strict and Loose Format

The provisional patent application need not follow any strict format since their primary purpose is to allow the inventor to get their patent secured and get a filing date.

Whereas, the permanent patent application has to be written in certain format and has to have at least one claim. The permanent patent claim application is written by patent attorneys and reviewed by PTO examiners.


The provisional patent application is flexible and allows addition and changes suitable to the inventor for the growth and expansion of the invention. But the permanent patent application is not flexible and addition to the application after submission is not allowed.

Level of Risk

The level of detail in filing the provisional patent application or the lack of detail creates a risk to the inventor if later on the inventor supplements a detail which is unsupported by the original filed detail then the new matter does not get the earlier provisional filing date. But there is nothing like that while filing an application for permanent patent because it needs to be exhaustive and final.


Even though provisional and permanent patents are two different categories of patent application, but they are the best way to serve the one and only purpose of securing the invention under patent’s intellectual property[1] rights.  They can together be the strongest reason to motivate an inventor to use his invention for the advancement of the technology at the same time giving them proper patent protection.

Nonetheless if the inventor prefers filing a provisional patent application, then it is important to comprehend that it stays unresolved for twelve months from the date of filing at the Patent Office. Hence, to extract complete advantages of patenting the invention the inventor must also file a related permanent application during the twelve-months of the provisional application unresolved period.

Thus, both the provisional and permanent patent registration is significant for the inventor coming up with new inventions but the difference in the two of them is just about the procedure and the convenience.

Read our article:Detailed Process of Patent Registration in India

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