One of the fastest and least expensive ways for inventors to protect their ideas is by filing a Provisional Patent Application (PPA).
Oftentimes, inventors with a new product idea or improvement to an existing product, incorrectly assume that they should immediately jump to filing a full “Utility Patent” on their invention. While Utility Patent protection may be the ultimate end-goal, many inventors could be better off starting the process with a PPA.
Five Benefits of Filing a Provisional Patent Application
The following are five benefits of filing a Provisional Patent Application (PPA) before filing a Utility Patent Application:
- Lower cost
A PPA can be prepared and filed for significantly less money than a more costly utility patent.
- Easy to File
The PPA is much easier to complete and can even be done by inventors themselves if they take the time to understand how to complete a thorough application.
- Immediate “Patent-Pending” Status
Since the patent office does not review or approve a PPA, inventors can immediately use the term “patent-pending” once the application has been filed.
- Provides 12 Months of Further Development Time
Although the PPA is not a substitute for ultimately filing a utility patent application, it provides the inventor with 12 months of valuable time to further develop or market the invention. You could spend thousands of dollars on filing a utility patent application, up front, only to realize later that you need to make changes to your invention or that your invention is not going to sell/license. One good reason to start with a low-cost PPA.
- 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.