1

Upon filing a provisional patent application, can the invention become publicly known and sold (such as through public sale), and still retain all patent rights to information disclosed in the provisional patent application?

More simply, 1) if I first file a provisional, 2) then advertise and sell the invention openly to the public, 3) can I still file a regular patent application and be granted a patent?

2

My impression of the PPA is that you can try to commercialize what's in it without inhibiting your chances of filing for a non-provisional one before your 12 months are up. I am not entirely sure, but what I know is form the USPTO website as quoted below:

http://www.uspto.gov/patents-getting-started/patent-basics/types-patent-applications/provisional-application-patent

"The provisional application must name all of the inventor(s). In view of the one-year grace period provided by 35 U.S.C. 102(b)(1) in conjunction with 35 U.S.C. 102(a)(1), a provisional application can be filed up to 12 months following an inventor's public disclosure of the invention. (Such a pre-filing disclosure, although protected in the United States, may preclude patenting in foreign countries.) A public disclosure (e.g., publication, public use, offer for sale) more than one year before the provisional application filing date would preclude patenting in the United States. Keep in mind that a publication, use, sale, or other activity only has to be made available to the public to qualify as a public disclosure."

Since PPAs are not examined by the USPTO, I think you're safe in being able to file for a non-provisional patent a year later that would use the information in the PPA. In fact, the non-provisional one would have to build on the prior one; that's part of the premise for why provisional patents were established. (Refer to above USPTO link for further details.)

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