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Submission + - Ask Slashdot: Why Isn't a Provisional Patent As Prior Art Sufficient? 3

jmactacular writes: Patents suck, and I know the difference between a provisional and a utility. But follow my logic here. If you file a provisional patent purely to try and protect yourself, wouldn't that document the "invention" sufficient as such to be considered prior art? And if prior art is a valid defense against someone else who files a patent for the same "invention", is it necessary to even file a full patent? What am I missing?
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Ask Slashdot: Why Isn't a Provisional Patent As Prior Art Sufficient?

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  • You can document prior art by publishing it on a web page and having a printed copy notarized for $5. No need for the cost and rigor of any kind of patent filing.

    • This is dubious advice. The actual standard is:

      A reference is proven to be a “printed publication” “upon a satisfactory showing that such document has been disseminated or otherwise made available to the extent that persons interested and ordinarily skilled in the subject matter or art, exercising reasonable diligence, can locate it.”

      (source: “Printed Publications” as Prior Art [uspto.gov])

      Just putting a web page up on the web and not getting it indexed would probably not me

  • Your misunderstanding is that: a provisional patent is not publicly disclosed. (see this USPTO doc: The Provisional Patent Application: What You Need to Know [uspto.gov].

    A provisional patent just starts the clock for the purposes of precedence; you still have to file a "real" patent to get any protection. And since its secret, it doesn't count as disclosing prior art.

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