How did the use of provisional applications go awry? They were never intended to be, and are not, a substitute for a fully-prepared (i.e., utility) patent application. A provisional application is not a poor man’s patent, which it has been called, especially since it is not a patent, can never mature into a patent and confers no enforceable rights. Provisional applications were created with good intentions and yield valuable benefits when used properly, but they have been misused — unintentionally by the unknowledgeable and intentionally by hucksters in search of a buck.
Provisional applications are not low-cost substitutes for utility applications