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As an inventor with a new product idea or improvement to an existing product, it’s important to understand the options available for protecting your idea and the cost differences involved. For inventors looking to patent their inventions, you might consider filing either a provisional patent application or a non-provisional patent. However, starting with a provisional patent application can potentially save you lots of money in the long run.
Here are five benefits of filing a Provisional Patent Application before filing a Utility Patent Application (non-provisional).
1. Lower cost
A provisional patent application can often times be prepared and filed at a fraction of the cost of filing of a non-provisional application.
2. Easy to File
The application and process is significantly less complex than a non-provisional application thus leading to a quick turnaround.
3. Immediate “Patent-Pending” Status
Inventors can immediately use the term “patent-pending” once the application has been filed.
4. Provides 12 Months of Further Development Time
Although the provisional patent application is not a substitute for ultimately filing a non-provisional patent application, it provides the inventor with 12 months of valuable time to further develop or market the invention. Why spend thousands on filing a non-provisional application only to realize later that you need to make changes to your invention or that your invention is not going to sell/license thus use the 12 months to figure out if this expense is worthwhile.
5. Establishes Priority Date
Once your application has been filed, you have established a priority date for your patent. This means that when and if you file a utility application, you will be able to claim the original provisional filing date.
It’s important to understand that even if you file a provisional patent application, you will still need to file a non-provisional application down the road if you wish to maintain patent protection. However, starting with the provisional patent application can ultimately save you time and money in the pursuit of your invention.
Whichever direction you ultimately decide, remember that research and self-education are invaluable to your success not only at this beginning stage, but also as you progress in the process of inventing.