Provisional patent a type of patent that is drafted in order to document your interest in the invention. Although, a provisional patent is not examined unless a highly detailed non-provisional patent is filed within the next 12 months. This is a way to secure a timeline to establish a filing date.
The difference between Provisional patent applications and Non Provisional patent is that a provisional patent does not get reviewed by the examiner while a non provisional patent does get reviewed.
If drafted correctly, a provisional patent application can be an efficient and cost effective tool in obtaining “patent pending” status for a functional invention. Keep in mind that provisionals and non-provisionals are both applications for utility patents, and not for design patents.
Provisional patents are filed to save cost and time since they do not need to adhere to any required format. They enable the patent applicant to quickly and inexpensively obtain patent pending status which gives them time to expand further on their invention.