A Provisional Patent legally establishes the date from which an inventor is entitled patent protection to his or her idea (known as the ‘priority date’) and allows the inventor to describe the idea as “Patent Pending.” Filing a provisional application for patent (commonly known as a Provisional Patent) is the first step in securing patent rights to your idea, invention, or innovation.
When the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) is deciding whether or not to grant you a patent on your idea, your priority date serves as a legal basis to answer the question of “Who came up with this invention first?” The inventor with an earlier priority date is the only inventor who may be entitled to a Patent on the idea, so it is important to file a file for Provisional Patent protection as soon as you can.
Provisional Patent protection was established to provide inventors an inexpensive way to begin protecting their ideas. With a Provisional Patent, the inventor can feel secure in disclosing and promoting his idea as “Patent Pending” knowing that he or she has already established priority with the USPTO to their patent rights for the idea. In this way, the inventor knows that, if anyone else were to try to misappropriate the inventor’s idea, he or she will have the means to prove that he has legal priority to the idea.
If you are interested in more detail related to your situation it is best to speak with an attorney.
Yuri Eliezer heads the intellectual property practice group at Founders Legal. As an entrepreneur who saw the importance of early-stage patent protection, Yuri founded SmartUp®. Clients he has served include Microsoft, Cisco, Cox, AT&T, General Electric, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and Coca-Cola.
Source: Smartup Legal