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The patent number timeline is as follows: There were a series of dispensers that were manufactured during the mid 70's to mid 80's that did not have a Patent number molded on the stem.
These dispensers came out at about the same time as 3.9 Patent dispensers, and are referred to as 3.9, No Patent dispensers.
A provisional application is generally filed to gain priority for a patent application, as the priority date plays a vital role in the grant of the patent.
If an applicant needs more than the prescribed period to file a complete specification, an applicant may post-date a patent application, accompanied by a provisional specification.
In this decision the court did not take into account the legislative intent behind the introduction of the concept of post-dating where the complete specification has not been filed pursuant to the provisional application and where the applicant intends to post-date the patent application.