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Well, a claim refers to the extent of the protection conferred by a patent. If claims are so important so why they are not mandatory for the provisional application?

There has to be a reason for such a lenient attitude towards mentioning a claim.

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It will never be searched and any claims in it will never be examined so requiring them would contribute nothing to the process. On the other hand the description is key becasue it needs to support any claims in future non-provisional that do get examined.

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I am not a lawyer, but I think it is because the provisional application is not the application that gets examined. It needs only to sufficiently disclose the invention so that the non-provisional application can then be examined and claim the earlier priority date. Remember, claims get edited all the time as the patent examination process progresses. This doesn't mean it isn't a good idea to consider what your claims would be or even to include them in a provisional application.

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