MPEP 601.01(c)
Conversion to or from a Provisional Application

This is the Ninth Edition of the MPEP, Revision 08.2017, Last Revised in January 2018

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601.01(c)    Conversion to or from a Provisional Application [R-07.2015]

I.    CONVERSION FROM A NONPROVISIONAL APPLICATION TO A PROVISIONAL APPLICATION

37 C.F.R. 1.53 Application number, filing date, and completion of application.

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  • (c)
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    • (2) An application for patent filed under paragraph (b) of this section may be converted to a provisional application and be accorded the original filing date of the application filed under paragraph (b) of this section. The grant of such a request for conversion will not entitle applicant to a refund of the fees that were properly paid in the application filed under paragraph (b) of this section. Such a request for conversion must be accompanied by the processing fee set forth in § 1.17(q) and be filed prior to the earliest of:
      • (i) Abandonment of the application filed under paragraph (b) of this section;
      • (ii) Payment of the issue fee on the application filed under paragraph (b) of this section; or
      • (iii) Expiration of twelve months after the filing date of the application filed under paragraph (b) of this section.

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An application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(b) may be converted to a provisional application in accordance with the procedure described in 37 CFR 1.53(c)(2). The procedure requires the filing of a request for conversion and the processing fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(q). The provisional application filing fee (37 CFR 1.16(d) ) and the surcharge set forth in 37 CFR 1.16(g) are also required, although these fees do not need to be paid with the request for conversion. If the provisional application filing fee and the surcharge are not paid at the time of filing of the request for conversion, the Office will send a Notice to File Missing Parts in the provisional application requiring these fees. Filing of the request in the nonprovisional application is required prior to the abandonment of the 37 CFR 1.53(b) application, the payment of the issue fee, or the expiration of 12 months after the filing date of the 37 CFR 1.53(b) application, whichever event is earlier. The grant of any such request does not entitle applicant to a refund of the fees properly paid in the application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(b).

Converting a nonprovisional application to a provisional application will not avoid the publication of the nonprovisional application unless the request to convert is recognized in sufficient time to permit the appropriate officials to remove the nonprovisional application from the publication process. The Office cannot ensure that it can remove an application from publication or avoid publication of application information any time after the publication process for the application has been initiated. For information on procedures for removing an application from publication, see MPEP § 1120.

A provisional application is not entitled to claim priority to or benefit of a prior-filed application under 35 U.S.C. 119, 120, 121, 365, or 386. See MPEP § 201.04. After the nonprovisional application has been converted to a provisional application, any priority or benefit claims submitted in the nonprovisional application will be disregarded.

Applicants who wish to file a request for conversion under 37 CFR 1.53(c)(2) by mail should designate "Mail Stop Conversion" as part of the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office address.

II.    CONVERSION FROM A PROVISIONAL APPLICATION TO A NONPROVISIONAL APPLICATION

37 C.F.R. 1.53 Application number, filing date, and completion of application.

[Editor Note: Applicable to patent applications filed under 35 U.S.C. 111 on or after December 18, 2013. See pre-PLT (AIA) 37 CFR 1.53(c) for the rule otherwise in effect.]

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  • (c)
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    • (3) A provisional application filed under paragraph (c) of this section may be converted to a nonprovisional application filed under paragraph (b) of this section and accorded the original filing date of the provisional application. The conversion of a provisional application to a nonprovisional application will not result in either the refund of any fee properly paid in the provisional application or the application of any such fee to the filing fee, or any other fee, for the nonprovisional application. Conversion of a provisional application to a nonprovisional application under this paragraph will result in the term of any patent to issue from the application being measured from at least the filing date of the provisional application for which conversion is requested. Thus, applicants should consider avoiding this adverse patent term impact by filing a nonprovisional application claiming the benefit of the provisional application under 35 U.S.C. 119(e), rather than converting the provisional application into a nonprovisional application pursuant to this paragraph. A request to convert a provisional application to a nonprovisional application must be accompanied by the fee set forth in § 1.17(i) and an amendment including at least one claim as prescribed by 35 U.S.C. 112(b), unless the provisional application under paragraph (c) of this section otherwise contains at least one claim as prescribed by 35 U.S.C. 112(b). The nonprovisional application resulting from conversion of a provisional application must also include the filing fee, search fee, and examination fee for a nonprovisional application, and the surcharge required by § 1.16(f) if either the basic filing fee for a nonprovisional application or the inventor's oath or declaration was not present on the filing date accorded the resulting nonprovisional application ( i.e., the filing date of the original provisional application). A request to convert a provisional application to a nonprovisional application must also be filed prior to the earliest of:
      • (i) Abandonment of the provisional application filed under paragraph (c) of this section; or
      • (ii) Expiration of twelve months after the filing date of the provisional application filed under paragraph (c) of this section.

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An application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(c) may be converted to a nonprovisional application in accordance with the procedure described in 37 CFR 1.53(c)(3). Applicants should carefully consider the patent term consequences of requesting conversion rather than simply filing a nonprovisional application claiming the benefit of the filing date of the provisional application under 35 U.S.C. 119(e). Claiming the benefit of the provisional application under 35 U.S.C. 119(e) is less expensive and will result in a longer patent term. The procedure requires the filing of a request in the provisional application for the conversion of the provisional application to a nonprovisional application and the fee set forth in 37 CFR 1.17(i). The nonprovisional application resulting from conversion of a provisional application must also include the basic filing fee, search fee, and examination fee for the nonprovisional application. In addition, if the provisional application was not filed with an executed oath or declaration and the appropriate fees for a nonprovisional application, the surcharge set forth in 37 CFR 1.16(f) is required. Furthermore, an inventor’s oath or declaration is required to be filed in accordance with 37 CFR 1.53(f) if the provisional application was filed on or after September 16, 2012 or pre-AIA 37 CFR 1.53(f) if the provisional application was filed prior to September 16, 2012. See MPEP § 601.01(a). Filing of the request for conversion in the provisional application is required prior to the abandonment of the provisional application or the expiration of 12 months after the filing date of the 37 CFR 1.53(c) application, whichever event is earlier. The grant of any such request does not entitle applicant to a refund of the fees properly paid in the application filed under 37 CFR 1.53(c).

Applicants who wish to file a request for conversion under 37 CFR 1.53(c)(3) by mail should designate "Mail Stop Conversion" as part of the U. S. Patent and Trademark Office address.