Provisional Patent Application
A provisional application for patent is a U. S. national application for patent filed in the USPTO under 35 U.S.C. S 111(b). It allows filing without a formal patent claim, oath or declaration, or any information disclosure (prior art) statement. It provides the means to establish an early effective filing date in a nonprovisional patent application filed under 35 U.S.C S 111(a) and automatically becomes abandoned after one year. It also allows the term "Patent Pending" to be applied.
Source: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.