Business 101: Real Meaning of Provisional Patents

So, I had a reality check of what the patent process really is.  I’ve shared that I had patentability search done months ago and it revealed that I had a potential idea to patent.  Therefore, I was advised to file a patent.  I elected to file the provisional patent because it’s cheaper and I thought that gave me an official invention certificate temporarily.  Now that I’ve had my provisional patent application filed, I am officially patent pending like the folks on Shark Tank!  However, I found out that doesn’t really mean much.  Essentially, I have some legal protection to stand on if someone were to steal my idea, but my invention still isn’t officially patented.  I don’t yet have the certificate with the ribbon that I can post and brag to folks on social media about.  Getting something officially approved by US Patent Office takes several years.  So, the next steps for me are to decide within the next year if I want to file an official patent on my invention.  I guess the intention of a provisional patent is for people that are unsure of an idea to somewhat test it out with some legal backing before committing to the larger investment.  The non-provisional patent is like 3-5x time the application costs of a provisional ones and that matters when even filing a provisional patent is several thousand dollars.  Again, the provisional patent filing gives me a 1-year clock to be protected and follow up with filing a non-provisional (long term) patent.  It also serves as a place in line because people that file provisional patents get somewhat of priority status when it comes to the application being reviewed.  I’m assuming that’s because people that have at least filed a provisional patent have worked with law firm and have some of the work completed while someone going straight to non-provisional patent application may be starting from scratch.

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