Are provisional and non-provisional patent applications different?

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A provisional application only establishes the filing date and expires automatically after one year. A person seeking patent protection may make a provisional application when he/she is not ready to enter the application into the regular examination process. A provisional application establishes a filing date at a lower cost for a first patent application filing in the United States and allows the term “Patent Pending” to be applied to an invention. The non-provisional application, on the other hand, establishes the filing date of patent application and begins the examination process.