Q: Does my provisional patent application count as a patent?
A: It counts with respect to being able to say that you are patent pending. (at least for the year that it is pending)
It counts in that you can sell the product or otherwise publicly reveal the idea without losing absolute novelty that is needed in some patent systems. (at least for the year that it is pending, as long as you file a non-provisional application that claims back to the provisional application before the provisional application expires).
It does not give you the legal right to stop anyone from making, using, or selling a device or service that uses what is in your patent.
To get the legal right to prohibit others from using your invention, you need to file a non-provisional application and make it through the patent process including questions on whether your new idea is an obvious recombination of previously known ideas.
I hope that this answer helps.
Kevin E Flynn
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