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I was thinking about applying for a provisional patent and seeking funding for to build my prototyped design on a larger scale.

Should funding fall through or there's not much of a market interest, what happens to my provisional patent?

Does it become public?

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First things first, just a quick clarification, there is no such thing as a provisional patent, but rather a provisional patent application. It's a slight difference, but an important one. A provisional doesn't give you any direct protection apart from securing a "priority date".

To answer your question, though, no, the provisional application will be made public if and only if you proceed to file a non-provisional application and claim the filing date of the provisional. Of course, this typically isn't a big deal since the non-provisional is often a more smoothed out version by that point anyway, and it will be published according to the schedule you select, or at the eighteen-month mark by default.

If you don't file a non-provisional that claims the original provisional, nothing will happen with it, and it will essentially just disappear.

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A quick note, you might not be aware-the filing of your patent application does not require a prototype. You only have to be able to describe it such that one of ordinary skill in the art would understand enough to be able to build it.

  • Thanks Harvard. I tried to upvote but don't have enough points yet. Good point. – Samee87 Jun 23 '15 at 23:28

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