A provisional application is typically the first step in obtaining a patent application, and can reserve patent rights for any invention disclosed in the specification.
It is recommended to have a provisional (or complete) patent application filed before any public disclosure of your invention. While “grace period” provisions exist to cover early publication by an inventor, these are not available in all jurisdictions or in all circumstances.
It is essential to understand that the provisional application has the same disclosure requirements as a formal complete application. An improperly prepared provisional application will provide little support for any later filed complete application, leading to potential invalidity through prior publication before the complete application is filed.