You’ve decided that the best approach to protect your invention is by filing patents separately for all the different functions/uses and components. This approach, if affordable, provides numerous benefits (e.g., licensing benefits). Starting the filings out as provisional applications while the invention, as a whole, is still undergoing development or ‘proof-of-concept’ can be an affordable means to protecting the various aspects of your invention. If done properly, protections for needless public disclosures may be provided.
Do you want to keep some components a secret?
The subject matter of a provisional patent application is never disclosed to the public. This affords the inventor an opportunity to continue to improve the subject matter without sharing the disclosure to the public in its ‘patent-pending’ phase. It also prevents the subject matter from entering the public domain in case the inventor decides not to pursue a non-provisional patent on the subject matter.
Break your idea up into components (if possible) and file them as provisional applications first. A full patent application (non-provisional) can claim priority to more than one provisional application. However, as soon as you claim priority to a provisional application, the provisional application becomes public record. If you want to keep different segments of your ideas from being disclosed, file them in separate provisional applications.
In this way, when you follow with a non-provisional, you can pick and choose which components are “ready” to become public record, and which ones can remain undisclosed protected ideas. Otherwise, if you put every aspect of your invention into a single provisional application, then the non-provisional that follows will render all of the components available to the public.
For the full story please visit Part 1 of this series.
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