Patenting a design or innovation may be time-consuming and costly, but patents give the best intellectual property protection. Depending on the kind of patent you want, it might take up to seven years to get a response, and it could cost you thousands of dollars.

The USPTO operates on a first come, first served basis, which means that if someone registers an invention or design that is substantially similar to yours before you obtain your patent, you will be unable to register yours. Thankfully, the Provisional Patent alleviates some of the issues associated with regular patents and economic activity.

The Provisional Patent is an application that may be filed in order to obtain patent pending status. This status provides you with 12 months of protection. At that period, you may look for manufacturers, market the goods, and even produce prototypes for the next application. As long as the real patent is submitted before the end of the 12-month period, the USPTO considers the patent to have been applied for on the day the Provisional Patent was filed. This way, if someone files a comparable patent after witnessing your idea or product in action, you’ll still be protected.

Since the application is not nearly as involved, filing a Provisional Patent is both quicker and less expensive. But, there is no assurance that you will be granted a patent. It is just a method of safeguarding your innovation or design while you finish the work on your invention or product, acquire finance, and file your full non-Provisional Patent application. A Provisional Patent application may be completed and submitted to the patent office, or it may be completed online at the USPTO.

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