First-Time Inventors and the Gift of the Provisional Patent

Questions around the benefits and advantages of the provisional vs non-provisional patent crop up all the time in the startup world. At Shark Design, we consider the non-provisional patent as a ‘full’ patent in effect. 

It is the catalyst that kick-starts the whole patent review process. However, applying for a non-provisional patent straight out of the gate isn’t really necessary, and we rarely suggest this approach for the first-time inventor. So, why is that?  

Trial Period

It’s partly because a provisional patent is relatively inexpensive, as well as providing 12 months of intellectual property protection. It grants you a 12-month trial period to sell your invention before applying for non-provisional protection. It also gives you some leeway to make adjustments or modifications for up to 12 months after the filing date. 

Crucially, a provisional patent allows you to take the profits earned during your 12-month trial period and reinvest them into covering the cost of a full patent. Not to mention, filing for a provisional patent is straightforward and it doesn’t require the assistance of a trained professional. 

In this way, the provisional patent is clearly an extremely useful device for the first-time inventor.

Navigating the Process 

Shark Design is always proud to work alongside our clients in negotiating the provisional patent process. In fact, we would recommend that we assist you throughout, so that you are sure to get the most out of that valuable 12-month learning experience. 

A successful patent application will help to ensure that your intellectual property is fully protected throughout your product design process. Additionally, the 12-month trial period is so vitally important for inventors who require more capital to apply for the full patent. 

In light of the patent application timeline, it makes sense to bring your idea to the market first, observe how it performs, then decide whether or not to move forward and apply for the full patent. This 12-month grace period can give you much deeper insight into your target market, and by extension the potential market performance of your product. 

It gives you the vantage point you need. We suggest taking the time to learn more about your target audience, their needs, and their expectations for your product. Later, when you’re armed with metrics, money, and motivation, you’ll be ready to apply for the non-provisional patent and receive the full patent. 

However, until you reach that stage of the journey, we advise keeping things simple. The flexibility offered by provisional patents is too powerful to ignore and it can really make all the difference for those who are just starting out.

Of course, we can help you with the patent application form and all the other bureaucracy that needs to be handled if you are serious about protecting your assets.

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