Provisional Patent Application vs. Regular Patent Application

How You Can Protect Your Invention For Less Money Initially

Many independent investors usually face a bothersome issue: how can they show off their brainchild idea to possible manufacturers without those manufacturers stealing their invention? With the help of Congress, inventors can be protected from theft with the provisional patent application (or PPA).

Protect Your Invention: How To Keep A Manufacturer From Stealing Your Idea

While you can trust most manufacturers not to steal from you, there are few inventors who want to rely solely on that trust when they’re discussing their invention with manufacturers. Despite the sensible reasons, the majority of manufacturers refuse to sign binding nondisclosure agreements before they see the inventions.

Should you find a manufacturer who doesn’t mind signing the disclosure agreement, you can check out to learn more information about inventions and trade secrecy.

Patent Applications

How To Protect Inventions Through Traditional Methods

There are two traditional methods available to help inventors protecting their invention while showing them to possible manufacturers:

1 - Regular Patent Application – Inventors can get a patent application and file it, marking it as “patent pending” before shopping around.  Very few manufacturers will try stealing an invention if they know they’ll be slapped with a patent infringement lawsuit when the patent is eventually issued.

2 – Document Building and Testing Process – Some folks will build and test the invention before they arrange showing with potential manufacturers. If there is complete documentation regarding the building/testing process, they can disprove a manufacturer’s claim that the true inventor ripped them off.

Traditional Approaches Have Problems

Of course, both conventional approaches have some problems. Keep in mind that technology is becoming far more complex – software development, nanotechnology, biotechnology – all these come to mind. Independent inventors have a harder time building and testing inventions based on these complicated technologies. And, filing a patent application is hard work and costly if an attorney becomes involved.

Congress’ Solution

Now, Congress has given inventors a third option, which is to file a provisional patent application on their invention. A PPA filing enables the inventor to claim a patent pending status for one year on the invention… for a lot less work and money than a regular patent application.

The PPA will have text and drawings that will tell you how to create and use the invention. It’s about five to 10 pages long and is written in layman’s English unlike the regular patent application.

Once done, you’ve set up the effective filing date for the invention and you’ll be able to use “patent pending” on it for 12 months of that filing date. If you file for the regular patent application in that same year of the PPA filing, you’ll claim the original filing date to demonstrate the invention came before similar developments.

Three Primary Reasons A PPA Is Different From An RPA

1 – Less Expensive

The PPA costs $110 (it’s $220 for large companies), instead of the thousands of dollars it does to pay patent lawyers and do patent searches to prepare for the complete patent application.

2 – Simpler

There’s no need to go through the complicated processes of a regular patent application like:

- Patent Application Declaration, which is a statement that states you are the sole inventor and have disclosed all information you believe is relevant to the applicant’s examination.
- Information Disclosure Statement, which is the relevant information you know that relates to your invention’s originality.

3 – It Doesn’t Give You A Patent

The PPA does not give you a patent. It only allows you to protect your rights while you decide if you want to file for the regular patent. If you decide to do this and get the benefits that are attained with it, you need to file for it within one year of the PPA date and have it approved by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.