Does a Provisional Patent Provide IP Protection?
There are circumstances when your startup might have an invention, but you are not ready to take the time, effort, and expense of filing a full patent application with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). You may have heard of provisional patents, and you might wonder whether this is adequate to protect your invention before you file for full protection.
While many people commonly refer to a “provisional patent,” this is not an actual type of patent that can be granted. Instead, more accurately, you will have a provisional patent application. Having this application on file with the USPTO can provide benefits but not full IP protection similar to a patent with rights to file infringement lawsuits.
A provisional patent application provides you with “patent pending” status, which does not mean you have legally enforceable patent rights just yet. However, while you cannot file a lawsuit if a third party tries to copy your invention, patent pending status can be beneficial for different reasons.
Having a provisional patent application on file and patent pending status can help to protect your future rights to patent protection. When you file a provisional patent application, you establish this as your priority filing date. If another party wishes to seek a patent for the same design, your patent pending status can give you priority over them.
You then have 12 months during which you must file your full patent application to maintain your patent pending status and priority over other parties.
If you would like to know about your options regarding a provisional patent or full patent application, do not hesitate to speak with a Montana patent attorney at Collaborative IP. Contact our office so we can help you protect your intellectual property today.