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Provisional vs Non-Provisional Patent

by Charlie


My question is whether it is better to get a provisional patent or a regular patent ?
Secondly, to apply for one of the above do I need to have a nondisclosure agreement signed by the Attorney before even describing my idea to them ?



It depends on your circumstances. If you want to get some protection for your idea very quickly, then a provisional patent is the way to go. It is also much less expensive.

Now the downside: It will only last for one year. You can only get get general protection, not specific protection. Since provisional patents are not reviewed, you don't really know if your idea is patentable.

Why would you want to use a provisional patent vs a non-provisional patent? Well you will have a year to market your idea to different companies. During that year you can proceed with an investment in the more permanent non-provisional patent.

Before you do anything, however, you need to perform a patent search. Google has a good facility for doing that. If someone else has already patented what you have in mind, then why would you waste your money?

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Mike Starkweather

Mike Starkweather
Patent Attorney

Mike was a patent examiner at the United States Patent Office. While there he examined over 300 patent applications. This experience has helped him to understand all the subtleties of getting a patent. You want that experience on your side.

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Invention Quotes

"Necessity is the mother of invention, it is true, but its father is creativity, and knowledge is the midwife."
by Jonathan Schattke

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it."
by Alan Kay

"Invention is the talent of youth, as judgment is of age."
by Jonathan Swift

"Where a new invention promises to be useful, it ought to be tried"
by Thomas Jefferson

"They say that necessity is the mother of invention, and when the necessity is survival she can be one mean mother, but it's her child invention that's the real dangerous one."
by Darien Fawkes

"An inventor is simply a fellow who doesn't take his education too seriously."
by Charles F. Kettering

"A moment's insight is sometimes worth a life's experience."
by Thomas Fuller

"A tool is but the extension of a man's hand, and a machine is but a complex tool. And he that invents a machine augments the power of a man and the well-being of mankind."
by Henry Ward Beecher"