Are provisional patent applications published by the U.S. Patent Office?

No.  Provisional patent applications are not published since they are not examined and they are only pending at the U.S. Patent Office for 12-months.  After 12-months, a provisional patent application automatically becomes abandoned and therefore will is not published.  Hence, a provisional patent application will remain secret at the U.S. Patent Office with a few exceptions discussed below.

While a provisional patent application is never published by the U.S. Patent Office for the public to view or search, there are two situations when a provisional patent application will be made publicly available for inspection and only if a non-provisional patent application is subsequently filed claiming priority to the provisional patent application.

  1. The provisional application will be published if the non-provisional patent application is published; or
  2. The provisional application will be published if the non-provisional patent application is granted as a patent.

If either of the two situations occur then the public may request a copy of the provisional patent application from the U.S. Patent Office.

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