Should I apply for a provisional patent or a utility patent?
With a provisional patent, you have the option to turn the provisional patent into a full utility patent within 12 months. The question is: Should you file a provisional patent first or skip the provisional patent and go straight to the full utility patent?
Big companies like Apple and Sony rarely file provisional patents. This is because they are confident they wish to try and obtain patent rights for any new invention they create and they have the budget to file full utility patent applications immediately.
However, individuals and small businesses may not immediately be ready to file a full utility patent but still want to protect an invention. This is solved by the provisional patent as it allows you to record your invention date quickly and inexpensively with the US Patent Office, and have the option to convert it into a full patent within 12 months.
If you are certain you want to try and obtain 20 years of patent protection and the needed monetary capital is available, you may want to skip the provisional patent and go directly to the utility patent application.
Otherwise, you would file a provisional patent to temporarily lock in your invention date for 12 months. Within this 12 months, you would pitch the idea to companies and investors or sell the invention to test the market. You can make the decision as to whether or not you want to follow-up with the full utility patent within the 12 months or simply let your provisional patent expire.
If you have questions regarding which patent is appropriate for you, please contact us.