Without a doubt, one of my favorite things is the light in someone’s eyes while describing a new invention. Recently, I had a conversation with a client about her recently-filed patent application. She was so excited to market her new device, like someone with really great news that can't wait to share it with the world. The invention was ready to launch.
For a cost-effective approach to protecting an idea that solves a problem or does something new and different, consider filing a Provisional Patent Application (PPA). Particularly, include in the analysis the following factors:
1. Early bird gets the worm.
As of March 16, 2013, the U.S. patent system started using a “first to file” system for patent applications. This means that even if someone invents it first, the product or idea is not protected from others making, using, or selling it until a patent application is filed. It is therefore essential to seek patent protection like a PPA as early as possible.
2. Who will buy?
Let’s face it, not everyone has the capital to start a business. A PPA provides a way to protect an idea and explore how the idea will be received in the market, without a lot of business capital. To encourage investors, a PPA enables an inventor to freely demonstrate how the public responds to the idea at trade shows, online sales, and other marketing venues.
3. Testing, testing…
It can be hard to get it just right the first time. To refine an invention, make prototypes, work with manufacturers, and test an application of a new product, a PPA is beneficial because it provides a year of patent protection before a regular patent application is required. In this way, the idea can be protected before it is perfected.
A PPA is a minimum cost investment that puts inventors quickly on the road to protection in a “first-to-file” context. It gives inventors a boost of time in which to perform due diligence, fully develop the idea, and test business strategies to make it profitable. If you have an idea for a new business, let’s talk about a PPA.