Is there a difference between a Provisional Patent Application and a Utility Patent?
Yes, and understanding the difference could save you a lot of time and money in the long run.
Many inventors are unaware of the Provisional Patent Application process and believe they must file a Non-Provisional (Utility) Application up front to protect their ideas. While a Utility Application is ultimately something that will need to be completed if the idea is going to succeed, you may be far better off starting the process by filing a Provisional Patent Application.
The Provisional Patent Application is a very inexpensive way to buy valuable time to further develop and market the idea before investing in a costly Utility Patent Application. However, it is not a substitute for filing a Utility Patent later in the process. InventionHome offers a very low cost Provisional Patent Application service that may benefit you.
Here are a few key differences.
- Cost: The reason that so many inventors use the Provisional Patent Application process is that it costs significantly less money to complete and file than a Utility Application. It also allows the inventor to use the term “patent-pending” while further developing or marketing their invention. And, if the invention is changed or modified through the development or manufacturing process there is less cost involved with incorporating those changes into the Utility Patent Application down the road.
- Time to File: The Non-Provisional Patent Application is commonly known as a “Utility” Patent Application. Filing this type of application will establish a final filing date for the invention and it will also begin the United States Patent and Trademark Office’s review process, which can take 18 months or more to complete. When an inventor files a Provisional Patent Application first, they are granted 12 months of patent-pending protection as well as the ability to claim that earlier date when filing for the Utility Application This provides valuable time to further develop and market the invention and could ultimately save a lot of money in rework.
In conclusion, if you have a new idea that you are thinking about patenting take the time to review the benefits of a provisional patent application before jumping into a costly utility patent application. It could save you in the long run.