A provisional patent application is an application which allows inventors to ‘test drive’ their invention before doing a full patent application. A provisional patent application is a short term patent that is cheaper to acquire than the full patent and allows for the use of the phrase ‘patent pending’ on your idea or product. This allows you to have some degree of protection over you intellectual property as well as give you a loophole extension on the usual patent lifespan-one year of provisional and twenty of the normal patent.
Provisional patent applications are much cheaper to file than the regular patents, making them a good thing to use if you are uncertain about how well your idea will fly in the world, but you’re not willing to give up on it yet. Filing a provisional application is also good practice for the total patent application and allows you to continue tweaking your invention (since the applications do not have to be the same for the project) while making money off of it; so you could send out idea, gather feedback and then tweak your project before doing the final patent as explained in https://www.tekrevue.com/inventhelp-tech-invention-off-the-ground/ post.
A provisional patent is very useful, but you have to be careful of a few things when you are using one. First off, you have to remember to file a proper patent application before the year is up on the provisional one or else you lose your patent completely and someone can sweep in and grab it. However, you also want to be careful not to file too early or you’ll lose the extra year on your patent!
Furthermore, because the application process for the provisional patent is so quick, it is always incomplete and therefore, someone else can do a second party patent, do a better job of it and steal your idea legally. This is very problematic for many inventors because it is easier to steal an idea that come up with one of your own and the theft seems to be almost sanctioned by the law. To help decrease the chances of this happening, you should still try to make your provisional patents as complete as possible and remember to file a proper patent application at your earliest convenience. There are patenting agencies that provide invention help and patenting services you can hire if you don’t know how to do it yourself. A provisional patent is a very useful tool to have in any inventor’s pocket and it’s definitely worth knowing about.