You've heard me say this before - a Provisional Patent Application (PPA) is the inventor's best friend. And here's why.
If you have an idea/invention take a deep breath before you do anything. Everything will be fine. Don't listen to friends or family members that have never brought a product to market. Don’t be sold on fear that someone is going to steal your idea. Don't be convinced that you have to spend thousands of dollars to obtain a patent.
I know many of you are watching to Shark Tank and they always ask about patents. You need a patent! You need a patent!
You need a patent!
I’m here to tell you it’s just not true!
At inventRight we see a licensing deal signed each and every week. We’ve been educating inventors for over 20 years. And for 95% of all those licensing deals the inventor only had a well written PPA.
I could go on and on about the beauty of a well written PPA. But I will try to give you the main benefits.
This tool gives you twelve months, yes - one year, of "patent pending" status on your innovation. You can mark all of your materials with that phrase.
And, during that year, you can submit your idea to companies to see if there is a market for your product. Does anybody want to buy this? Will a company manufacture it for you? Can you license it?
You can also file more than one provisional patent application during that year and, if you ultimately decide to file for a utility patent, you can combine the features and benefits from your multiple PPA's into one application.
Most attorneys will not advise you to pursue this strategy. Most often a patent attorney will recommend that you file a full blown non-provisional patent application. The thing is - that is likely to cost you that anywhere from $10,000 to $25,000. I strongly believe that this is the wrong way to go about it. Why spend that type of money if you don’t know whether your idea is marketable or not? Most of the time, during the year that you are "shopping" your product around, you will make changes or additions to your innovation. You won't be able to add claims to a utility patent application after it's filed so even if your patent ultimately gets issued it may not have everything in it that needs to be - do you file more? Can you afford to do that?
I believe that the right thing to do is file a PPA and use the time to see if your idea/invention is marketable. Test the waters. It's simple to do, very affordable and guess what? You don’t need a patent attorney or a patent agent to write and file a well-written PPA! You can do it yourself!
Disclaimer: I’m not a patent attorney or a patent agent. This strategy that I am sharing relates to ideas that are simple and typically consumer related. I would not advise this strategy for life-changing ideas, ideas that require extensive capital, time, tooling, or a team of people.
So, how do you write a well written provisional patent application?
Inventright and Patent attorney, law professor and cofounder of IP watchdog Gene Quinn have teamed up to create Smart IP.
It’s simply the worlds best provisional patent application program. Gene will walk you through every step of how to write a well written provisional patent application.
I highly recommend that you consider using SmartIP to assist you in writing and filing your PPA. Of all the licensing agreements I see each week it’s usually because of a well written provisional patent application that one of our students created utilizing SmartIP.
If you want to read more about this topic, please do! I write for Forbes online and here is a related article.